March 27, 2009 — More than 15,000 hours of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s The PTL Club TV shows are to be auctioned off today.
Venture capitalist Ben Dyer, president of Gospel Properties, acquired the PTL Club episodes when the previous owner defaulted on a loan from his company. Dyer said there has been some “serious interest” in the broadcasts, which aired from 1974 to 1987.
“But you just don’t know until the auction comes up and the bids start,” Dyer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
PTL, which stood for “Praise the Lord,” was the flagship program of the Bakkers’ Heritage USA ministry, a 2,300-acre complex south of Charlotte, N.C., designed for vacations and Christian living.
The ministry-which included a hotel, campground and theme park-collapsed in 1987 when Jim Bakker went to prison for fraud. The Bakkers divorced in 1992, and the following year Tammy Faye Bakker married Roe Messner, a longtime family friend and contractor at Heritage USA. Tammy Faye Messner died in 2007 from colon cancer.
After PTL collapsed, the 15,069 hourlong tapes were passed to a Charlotte-area church, then a cable content provider, Dyer told the Associated Press (AP) earlier this month.
Featuring performances from a who’s who of Christian musicians and a variety of notable special guests, Dyer said the shows are “as moving and meaningful today as when originally aired.”
A spokeswoman for Jim Bakker, who now lives in Branson, Mo., and hosts The New Jim Bakker Show with his wife, Lori, told the AP that the tapes have been appraised at around $8 million.
The tapes are to be auctioned through the California office of Ocean Tomo, a Chicago-based company that specializes in intellectual properties.