The power and force of the spoken word and the motivation it inspires are the essence of the new TLC program The Messengers. This innovative eight-part series kicks off July 23 at 10/9c and has a simple yet lofty goal: to find America's next great inspirational speaker. Showcasing 10 speakers from a variety of perspectives, The Messengers explores their ability to communicate the many complexities of life’s toughest lessons. Along the way, the speakers address issues viewers face in their everyday lives and communities.
The Messengers is an innovative and uplifting series with challenging individual experiences that act as a catalyst for the celebration of inspirational public speaking in contemporary America. "The participants really have to walk the walk before they can talk the talk," said David Abraham, executive vice president and general manager for TLC.
The foundation of each episode is a field trip designed to give the speakers a profound learning experience – the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. In the first episode, the participants face the harsh reality of homelessness. They spend 24 hours on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles and then deliver speeches based on the topic of charity. In subsequent episodes, field trips range from the participants living as a blind or wheelchair-bound individual for a day, to sharing in a powerful moment of forgiveness between a man convicted of vehicular homicide and the deceased’s mother. At the end of each field trip, the group is given their speaking topic – one simple word such as hope, perseverance or forgiveness, to use as the basis for their speeches.
Over the next 24 hours, the speakers blend their in-field experiences with their own life lessons to create powerful speeches of motivation for a studio audience. After each speech is delivered, public-speaking experts Richard Greene and Bobby Schuller offer valuable commentary and criticism to the participants. Panelist Richard Greene, author of Words That Shook the World, is a speech adviser and public-speaking analyst. He gives the contestants constructive guidance on their delivery, technique and content development. His co-panelist, Bobby Schuller, is a pastor at the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California and grandson of Rev. Robert H. Schuller. Schuller focuses his remarks on the content and emotional connection the speakers make with the studio audience.
At the conclusion of each episode, one person is eliminated by the studio audience’s vote. The speaker remaining at the end of the series will be crowned "The Messenger," awarded a publishing deal and given the chance to host his or her own TLC television special.