[08/07/13 - 01:17 PM]
New Series "Snake Salvation" Takes a Look into the Religious Ritual of Snake Handling, Premieres 9/10, 9 PM
The National Geographic Channel series follows pastors Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin who "are determined to keep their tradition alive no matter the cost."

[via press release from National Geographic Channel]


New Series Snake Salvation Takes a Hissing Look at Two Pastors Who Lead Congregations in the Religious Ritual of Snake Handling

Snake Salvation Premieres Tuesday, September 10, at 9:00 and 9:30 PM ET/PT

(Washington, D.C. - August 7, 2013) Imagine if your path into heaven was contingent on holding deadly snakes above your head while speaking and singing in tongues. Based on a Bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite will do no harm as long as its handler is anointed by God's power, some devotees of this unconventional ritual practiced in 100 churches in the U.S. believe not participating will leave them destined for hell.

Following in the National Geographic Channel tradition of taking you inside the worlds of everyday people living unordinary lives, the new series Snake Salvation, premiering Tuesday, September 10, at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. ET, follows two pastors of this creed who frequently battle the law, a disapproving society and sometimes their own families to lead their faithful followers to righteousness. For pastors Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin, the work is always hard, but always worth it, as to them, handling snakes is nothing short of a commandment from God. You can call them crazy, but they are determined to keep their tradition alive no matter the cost.

"Jamie and Andrew take huge risks in practicing their faith, not just in terms of the danger posed by the venomous serpents they handle, but also from law enforcement," said Matthew Testa, the executive producer for the series. "But they firmly believe they are commanded by the Bible to take up serpents as a sign to non-believers, and feel strongly they are exercising their religious freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution. They often say, 'God's law trumps the law of man.' "

Pentecostals who call themselves "Holiness" followers have been handling deadly snakes for more than a hundred years in the United States. Since its founding there have been as many as 100 reported deaths from church-related snake bites. The doctrine of the faith is based on a passage from the Book of Mark (Mark 16:17-18) that says, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

For nearly 20 years Pastor Jamie Coots has led the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, founded by his grandfather, in Middlesboro, Ky. His father, Greg, was also a snake-handling minister, and Jamie's son "Little Cody" hopes to one day carry on the family tradition. Though Pastor Jamie lost half of a finger to a rattlesnake bite, he still believes he must take up serpents to follow his faith. His biggest supporter is his wife, Linda, who plays instruments at every church service and adheres to their faith's strict tenets that forbid women from cutting their hair, wearing makeup or wearing pants. Though she gets nervous watching her husband at work, Linda feels no fear when handling snakes herself - describing it as "a calm" that overtakes her.

"My job as pastor is to kindly keep myself and my flock in line, and to do what we feel is right according to the word of God," says Pastor Jamie. "To me it's as much a commandment from God when he said 'they shall take up serpents,' as it was when he said 'thou shall not commit adultery.'"

Pastor Andrew Hamblin used to be a member of Pastor Jamie's congregation, and he is close enough to Jamie to call him "Dad." Now Andrew, only 22 years old, has started his own church of "sign followers," and though he is young and passionate, he is still working to prove himself to his flock. He is struggling to provide for his wife, Elizabeth, and their five children while on food stamps, and he is on a mission to grow his small church by appealing to a younger generation. The financial burden for running his own church may be too much for him to bear.

"I've got something in my soul greater than anything," says Pastor Andrew. "If I lost my wife to it, if I lost my children, God in heaven forbid I ever do, when my children get old enough to handle them � it would take all I had in me, because I love my wife. I love my kids. But it'd still be the word of God and I'd still have to do it."

Each episode of Snake Salvation will follow Pastors Jamie and Andrew as they fight to maintain their struggling churches. Their biggest obstacle is their most important: finding and sustaining a collection of venomous snakes to use in their services. Each will take viewers along as they head out on snake roundups, racing to find dens of their coveted cold-blooded reptiles before winter starts and the snakes go into hiding. With both pastors too financially strapped to purchase their supply, they are often forced to get creative to keep their stock thriving, be it snake trading at Repticon, the reptile convention, or illegally transporting venomous reptiles from warmer climates across state lines. Even if they can keep their snake population thriving, and stay out of jail, they're also challenged to find and retain followers to their unorthodox faith. Many community members scoff at their bizarre practices, members of their own families teeter on faithfulness and reformed criminals use it as their best defense against backsliding into sin. National Geographic's cameras were there when many church members were bitten by one of the poisonous serpents. But the pastors' own faith never falters that they'll be able to inspire their masses to seek their personal Snake Salvation.

Snake Salvation is a National Geographic Television (NGT) production executive produced by Jerry Decker and Matthew Testa. Ted Duvall is senior producer. For National Geographic Channels, Madeleine Carter is executive producer and Kevin Mohs is the vice president of production and development.


National Geographic Channel

Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 85 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.

  [august 2013]  


[10/08/15 - 09:48 AM]
"The Operatives" Is Back Saving the World's Most Precious Wildlife and Eco-Systems in an All-New Season Premiering on Pivot on October 18 at 10 P.M.
With 10, all new, hour-long episodes, Pete Bethune and his hand-picked team of military elite travel to the furthest parts of the world to expose those suspected of endangering our wildlife and environment in an effort to bring them to justice.

[10/08/15 - 09:43 AM]
HBO NOW Arrives Today on the Roku Platform
Roku customers can purchase a subscription directly within the HBO NOW channel on their Roku device, which will also enable them to access the service at HBONOW.com and on other HBO NOW enabled devices.

[10/08/15 - 09:32 AM]
Syfy Launches All-New Virtual Reality Experience for Award-Winning "The Expanse" VR App
The app immerses viewers into the vast world of "The Expanse," giving them the opportunity to enter into locations from the show and experience them in virtual reality.

[10/08/15 - 09:32 AM]
Game 1 of 2015 WNBA Finals Sees Viewership Increase from 2014
ESPN spins the numbers for Sunday, October 4.

[10/08/15 - 09:14 AM]
Video: Extended Trailer for TNT's "The Librarians" Season 2, Premiering Sunday, Nov. 1
Check out the latest tease for the show's sophomore run.

[10/08/15 - 08:44 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: "Empire" Continues Its Reign for FOX
Plus: The CW sees year-to-year growth with the return of "Arrow" and "Supernatural."

[10/08/15 - 08:34 AM]
The Long Anticipated Third Season of David Cross' "Todd Margaret" Returns to IFC on Thursday, January 7, 2016
Jack McBrayer, Will Arnett, Blake Harrison, Sharon Horgan, Amber Tamblyn and Russ Tamblyn are among those featured in the new season.

[10/08/15 - 08:31 AM]
"Chicago P.D." Wins at 10 Among ABC, CBS and NBC in 18-49 and All Other Key Demos
NBC spins the numbers for Wednesday, October 7.

[10/08/15 - 08:28 AM]
"black-ish" Is the Night's Only Program to Post Week-to-Week Growth
ABC spins the numbers for Wednesday, October 7.

[10/08/15 - 08:22 AM]
HBO Latin America to Launch New Streaming Service for Latin America and the Caribbean
The company plans to start deploying the service in markets throughout the region, beginning with a launch in Colombia by the end of the year.

[10/08/15 - 08:01 AM]
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Rings in the Holidays with "The Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas," Featuring Originals and Beloved Christmas Classics Round-the-Clock Beginning October 31
Said lineup includes "Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery," "The Christmas Note," "Magic Stocking" and "Debbie Macomber's Dashing Through The Snow."

[10/08/15 - 07:59 AM]
A&E's "The First 48" and "Nightwatch" Return for All New Seasons on Thursday, November 5
The former kicks off its 15th season with its landmark 300th episode.

[10/08/15 - 07:00 AM]
Next Games and AMC Proudly Launch The Walking Dead: No Man's Land - The Official Mobile Game of AMC's "The Walking Dead" - on iOS Today
Guided by Daryl Dixon, the fan-favorite character from the TV show played by Norman Reedus, players are in charge of their own unique group of survivors and their fate.

[10/07/15 - 01:55 PM]
2015 FOX MLB Postseason Leads Off with ALDS Doubleheader Thursday Night
FS1 televises up to eight ALDS games over the next seven days as the 2015 Postseason unfolds.

[10/07/15 - 01:26 PM]
"Please Like Me" Available on Hulu Starting October 11
The first two seasons will be available to stream, giving subscribers the chance to catch up on the hilariously dark world of Josh Thomas in advance of Pivot's October 16 season three launch of the award-winning comedy.