Why Leah Remini Was Told Not To Do Her Scientology TV Show

leah remini interviewing someone on scientology and the aftermath

Leah Remini's career has taken her from Saved By the Bell to The King of Queens and now to the second season of the CBS sitcom Kevin Can Wait. But it's hard to say that any of those projects -- as well as The Talk -- have been more impactful on society than her unscripted A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. As one of the only ongoing mainstream series shining any light on the Church of Scientology, Remini's show has attracted much controversy, and she says she was initially advised not to go forward with it.

Everybody on my team told me not to. They want me to be an actress. They don't want me to be known as somebody who does a show about Scientology. I'm like, 'What am I going to do? Not do it? This is my passion.'

Yeah, that definitely sounds like the mindset of someone who has the confidence necessary to walk away from the Church of Scientology in the first place. At the age of nine, Remini became a part of the Church, and she was a loyal member until 2013, when she left after witnessing the stonewalling of any attempts to investigate leader David Miscavige and his policies. On the flip side, she landed her first big TV roles in her late teens in the late 1980s. So considering her involvement with Scientology goes back further than her time as an Los Angeles actress, so there's no questioning her justification, even if her team didn't think the risks were worth it.

Leah Remini talked about Scientology and the Aftermath with THR, along with other creators of sometimes controversial shows -- entertainers like Drag Race's RuPaul, United Shades of America's W. Kamau Bell, Keeping Up with the Kardashians' Kris Jenner and Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party's Sallyann Salsano. There, Remini also talked about how she doesn't do any personal vetting for any of the former Scientologists that come on her show, since she wouldn't understand how anyone would want to lie about being in that kind of painful situation. (The producers do vet potential contributors, though, so don't worry.) But she doesn't want to necessarily take the credit for doing the positive things she's doing. In her words:

But it's not me, that's the thing. I wish I could say, 'Look how brave I am.' I'm telling their stories. When we leave, they go back to their regular lives, and they are the ones the church goes after. When we air a show, I go, 'Just know, within minutes your daughter is going to be saying horrific things about you on the church hate website.' Literally every single person who has done a story about Scientology has a hate website on them.

There's no question that Leah Remini's work on Scientology and the Aftermath has made waves, as it was one of A&E's bigger premieres, and was a top-rated show for the channel over the course of Season 1. The popularity was enough to warrant a Season 2 renewal and a between-seasons special, as well as a lot of criticism from the Church of Scientology. Can't please them all, I guess.

At this point, there's no release date locked in for when A&E will premiere Season 2 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, but it's projected to pop up in the coming summer months. Speaking of, check out everything else you can find then with our summer premiere schedule, and you can witness Kevin Can Wait's big casting change when that show hits CBS this fall.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.