Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
|Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath|
|Presented by||Leah Remini
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||23|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Intellectual Property Corporation|
|Original release||November 29, 2016 – present|
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is a documentary series that investigates the Church of Scientologythrough the experiences of the American actress Leah Remini and other former members. She was a follower of Scientology between 1979, when she joined at the age of nine alongside her parents, and 2013, when she left under acrimonious circumstances. She subsequently became an outspoken critic of Scientology and published a bestselling memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, in 2015.
The show’s first season was aired by A&E in seven regular and three special episodes commencing November 29, 2016. It received positive reviews from critics, recorded A&E’s best premiere ratings since 2014 and maintained a consistently high viewership for subsequent episodes. The first season garnered two Emmy nominations, scoring one win. The series was renewed for a second season of ten regular and four special episodes commencing August 15, 2017. The Church of Scientology was extremely critical of Remini and the show and established a website attacking the show, its presenters and many of the interviewees.
In each 43-minute episode, Remini along with co-host Mike Rinder investigate what A&E calls “shocking stories of abuse, heartbreak and harassment experienced by those who have left the church and spoken publicly about their experiences”. She interviews former members of the church who describe their experiences with Scientology and how they have continued to be affected by it even after leaving. She also speaks with a number of former high-ranking church officials who explain the background to the church’s policies and organization, and how this relates to the experiences of ex-members.
In a statement issued by A&E, Remini explained the purpose of her series. She said that she hoped to “shed light on information that makes the world aware of what is really going on and encourages others to speak up so the abuses can be ended forever. I hope that people who have left now feel they have a safe place to go. I hope others who have also experienced abuses will come forward and help us to do something about it.”
As part of the pre-broadcast publicity, Remini hosted an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit in which she explained her views on Scientology and discussed the show. It received nearly 20,000 comments and prompted two similarly-themed special episodes to be added to the show’s schedule in December 2016 and January 2017.