Leah Remini’s ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ gets second season at A&E

Leah Remini’s ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ gets second season at A&E

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Leah Remini Scientology and the Aftermath
Leah Remini, Mike Rinder
Leah Remini Scientology and the Aftermath
Leah Remini, Mike Rinder (Screengrab)

On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter said that Leah Remini’s popular “Scientology and the Aftermath” will get a second season at A&E.  Already in production, THR said the 10-episode season may air sometime this summer.

According to THR:

Leah Remini isn’t backing down. Nearly four years after leaving the Church of Scientology, the controversial religion’s most high-profile defector is ramping up her effort to blow the whistle on stories of abuse, misconduct and retribution — locking in a renewal deal for an expanded second season for her A&E exposé, Scientology and the Aftermath.

“The way the organization has responded without taking responsibility for what they do to people, I need to continue,” Remini tells THR. “It would be another [scenario] if they stopped trying to discredit everyone’s stories and said, ‘If you don’t like it, don’t be part of Scientology.’ “

Though there has been no formal action taken by the notoriously litigious organization, Scientology reps continue to dismiss A&E, Remini and the other former members who have appeared on the series thus far. The attention only has been a win for the cable network. Drawing strong ratings, with an average of 3 million viewers (1.5 million of them adults 18-to-49), Scientology and the Aftermath has done one better in bringing some prestige back to A&E. Head of programming Elaine Frontain Bryant says the breakout fits in with the current push for “authentic and distinctive storytelling.” An aggressive Emmy campaign is said to be in the works as well. The network is submitting the show to compete in the Informational Series or Special category, where it will go head-to-head with the perennial favorite, CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

“The way the organization has responded without taking responsibility for what they do to people, I need to continue,” Remini told the Hollywood Reporter.

Tony Ortega added:

Remini’s show premiered as the most-watched first episode of an A&E series in two years with about 2 million viewers. Over the next eight episodes it held that audience very well at about 1.5 million to 1.75 million viewers an episode. The show was such a surprise hit, the network scrambled and produced two special one-hour episodes to give the hosts, Remini and Mike Rinder, an opportunity to answer questions from viewers.

We’ve pointed out before that although some of the stories Remini and Rinder presented were not new to Scientology watchers, there was something about the way Remini made it personal that made for great television and introduced Scientology’s controversies to an entire new audience that hadn’t already seen HBO’s 2015 documentary Going Clear, which featured some of the same people.

We normally don’t cover topics like this at the Conservative Firing Line, but I made an exception in this case.  I watched the first season and was so taken by what Remini presented that I began reading everything I could find on Scientology.  Honestly, it would be an understatement to say that I was shocked.

If you haven’t seen the first season, I recommend you do so.  And while you’re at it, go check out Ortega’s blog, as well as Mike Rinder’s.

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