New reality series takes a look at man's life after he leaves priesthood.
PHILADEPHIA -- Move over Paris and Nicole, network TV is banking on a new reality series which will chronicle the life of an 'ex-priest' who is entering the dating world and a new career field at the same time.
"Father Charlie?" stars Charles de Marcini, 38, a recently laicized Catholic priest living in Philadelphia. In the procedure known as laicization, a priest can be returned to functioning in the Church as if he were a layman.
de Marcini left the priesthood after a relationship with the parish DRE (Director of Religious Education) began to heat up. "I guess she was really into the forbidden fruit thing, because once I was a free man, she lost interest," de Marcini said. "Once that happened, though, I knew I no longer wanted to serve in my parish, but pursue romantic interests instead."
de Marcini admits life on the outside has been much more difficult than he imagined. The first season of the show follows de Marcini as he leaves his parish and begins a job at Captain D's as a night manager. In the first episode, de Marcini is slapped by a co-worker when he lectures her about gossiping too much. In episode two, de Marcini gets a large iced tea thrown in his face when he upbraids another manager for using profanity. Later in the same episode, things reach a fever pitch when a co-worker falls on the freshly-mopped floor, and de Marcini urges her to make a confession to him.
"He's got a great story," said Marcus Konig, vice president of marketing for NBC. "He's a man who left the priesthood because he couldn't control his desires, and now that he's an ex-priest he can't control his desire to tell people how to live."
Keisha Long, 18, a co-worker of de Marcini's at Captain D's, who appears with him on the show, said that he often brought up religious topics, making other employees feel uncomfortable. "He kept telling us about this book he was writing about how to live a happy Christian life. I was like, 'dude, you work at Captain D's. No one believes you enjoy your life.'" She said there is a big confrontation in episode six when de Marcini tries to convince her to start a new life plan based on her ennegram results.
At the end of the season, de Marcini gets engaged and is fired from Captain D's. Despite this, his outlook remains positive. "Now that Marcia and I are about to get married, I am really hoping the Church will take me back as a priest. I see how it is my calling, and I really need a way to support my new wife. As they say, once a priest, always a priest."
"Father Charlie?" will air Tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern this fall.