- (Photo: Houston Chronicle)
The 10 most fascinating people this year include retired tennis great Andre Agassi, rapper Jay-Z and megapastor Joel Osteen, according to Barbara Walters.
"I don't want to sound like Pastor Joel, but for this show we want people who are positive," said Walters, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Walters will be hosting her annual television special, "10 Most Fascinating People," Tuesday night on ABC and Osteen is reportedly the first pastor to be featured on the hour-long program.
Author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, and pastor of one of the largest and most diverse churches in the country, Osteen was selected among other prominent pastors after Walters heard him preaching.
"We might have picked someone else, but when we heard the sermon and saw the size of this church, we knew he was the one," said Walters.
He also broadcasts his weekly services on several national cable and international networks and is said to be the most watched pastor in America.
Commenting on how he feels about being a fascinating person, Osteen said, "I feel humbled. I feel rewarded, like our efforts are paying off, making a difference, bringing hope to people. It feels good," the Chronicle reported.
Walters had sat with Osteen in the 16,000-seat Lakewood Church in Houston for her television special. Osteen may be highlighted as the most charismatic, interesting pastor in the growth of the evangelical movement. Contents of their conversation were not made available.
Osteen goes to church every week with good news, telling tens of thousands of believers that God wants them to prosper. Some evangelicals disagree with his messages on prosperity and omitting the cross and the suffering of Jesus Christ from his sermons.
But his positive messages have drawn up to 40,000 attendants each weekend for services at the former Compaq Center. And his book has sold over 4 million copies since 2004. He is now in the works of writing a second book based largely on his sermons.
Although Walters could have flown the megapastor in to New York for the interview, she said, "You have to see what this place is like to understand the extraordinary appeal of Joel Osteen."