Wright, TBN Link for Christian TV Fare

Reuters/March 27, 2004
By Deborah Evans Price

Nashville -- Well-known artist manager Johnny Wright, who steers the careers of Justin Timberlake, 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys, is getting into the Christian music business.

Wright, who is CEO of Wright Entertainment Group, is partnering with Matthew Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) to produce programing for the Christian cable network. Crouch is founder of 8X Entertainment, which is TBN's film division.

"I've always been a strong believer in God and have faith in my life," Wright says. "My path has been definitely planned out by God. He has blessed me with going to the top of the mountain with New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and 'N Sync."

Wright says he has been praying that if God had a bigger mission for him, he would reveal it. He thought radio was going to be the avenue for him to share the gospel with today's youth and had planned on starting an Internet radio station with a contemporary Christian/gospel radio format. He credits his assistant, Phil McIntyre, with setting up a meeting with Crouch that led to the new deal.

"It was like we were destined to be together," Wright says of their shared goals.

Plans call for the creation of a variety of new programing that will encompass contemporary Christian music artists, sports, reality TV programs and possibly a game show.

The programs will be underwritten by corporate sponsors, according to Wright.

Initially, all the programing will be televised on TBN, but "our ultimate goal is to spin it off into a full-fledged network just for that type of programing," he says. "But right now in its infancy ... the first program we're going to do together is a talent show."

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