San Diegan Buys Bakker’s TV Network

A bankruptcy judge Thursday approved the sale of the PTL cable television network to San Diego evangelist Morris Cerullo for $7 million.

Cerullo, a 58-year-old faith healer whose Worldwide Evangelism ministry outbid fellow evangelist Oral Roberts’ $6.3-million offer for the network and production facility, also signed a contract to buy the other portion of Jim Bakker’s scandal-plagued and bankrupt empire, the 2,200-acre Heritage USA religious theme park, for $45 million.

PTL trustee Dennis W. Shedd said Cerullo plans to keep the network headquartered at the Heritage USA park near Ft. Mill, S.C., and to reopen the theme park, which closed in September.

In a statement, Cerullo’s Worldwide Evangelism said it planned to develop a “five-star seminar and conference center as well as a recreational vehicle resort and various housing projects” on the Heritage USA site.


Cerullo was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Worldwide Evangelism, which was founded by Cerullo in 1961, produces a daily TV program called “Victory with Morris Cerullo” that is carried by 40 stations throughout the country.

PTL has been under control of the bankruptcy court since June, 1987, two months after Jim Bakker resigned the ministry after a sex-and-hush-money scandal involving former church secretary Jessica Hahn.