Nothing Sacred (TV series)

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Nothing Sacred
Created byBill Cain
David Manson
Written byJeanne Blake
Lee Blessing
Michael Breault
Jason Cahill
Bill Cain
Sandy Kroopf
David Manson
Marlane Meyer
Jan Oxenberg
StarringKevin Anderson
Bruce Altman
Scott Michael Campbell
Ann Dowd
Brad Sullivan
José Zúñiga
Tamara Mello
Theme music composerMark Isham
ComposerJeff Beal
Country of originUSA
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes20 (5 unaired)
Executive producersRichard Kramer
David Manson
ProducersBill Cain
Greer Shephard
Cyrus Yavneh
Running time60 mins.
Production companiesSarabande Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 18, 1997 (1997-09-18) –
March 14, 1998 (1998-03-14)

Nothing Sacred is an American drama series that aired from 1997 to 1998 on ABC. The series was created by a Jesuit priest named Bill Cain and producer David Manson.


Nothing Sacred starred Kevin Anderson as a priest. It was criticized by some who saw its portrayal of church issues in the post Second Vatican Council era as favoring those with a more liberal view of the Council at the expense of those with a more conservative one. The show and its sponsors were targeted for boycotts by the Catholic League.[1]

Despite promises that the show would air for at least one full season, after the failure of the program, ABC canceled its order for the final four episodes, and then canceled the series entirely after the March 14, 1998 episode (with four completed episodes left unaired).

The show won the Peabody Award, being described as "an honest portrayal of the complexity of faith in the modern era."[2] It also won the 1998 Humanitas Prize for a sixty-minute television series as well as the Founder's Award from Viewers For Quality Television.



No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Proofs for the Existence of God"Richard PearcePaul LelandSeptember 18, 1997 (1997-09-18)
2"Song of Songs"Robert YoungStory by : Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
Teleplay by : Marlane Meyer
September 25, 1997 (1997-09-25)
3"Mixed Blessings"Eugene CorrStory by : Matt Fulony & Paul Leland
Teleplay by : Matt Fulony
October 2, 1997 (1997-10-02)
4"Parents and Children"Claudia WeillStory by : Jan Oxenberg & Paul Leland
Teleplay by : Jan Oxenberg
October 9, 1997 (1997-10-09)
5"Roman Catholic Holiday"Sarah Pia AndersonStory by : Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
Teleplay by : Marlane Meyer
October 16, 1997 (1997-10-16)
6"Spirit and Substance"Arvin BrownStory by : Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
Teleplay by : Marlane Meyer
October 23, 1997 (1997-10-23)
7"Calling"Robert YoungJason CahillNovember 6, 1997 (1997-11-06)
8"Speaking in Tongues"John ColesSandy KroopfNovember 13, 1997 (1997-11-13)
9"A Bloody Miracle"Tom MooreJan OxenbergNovember 29, 1997 (1997-11-29)
10"House of Rage"Joan TewkesburyMarlane MeyerDecember 11, 1997 (1997-12-11)
11"Hodie Christus Natus Est"David MasonStory by : Bill Cain & Michael Breault
Teleplay by : Michael Breault
December 18, 1997 (1997-12-18)
12"Signs and Words"Robert Allan AckermanLee Blessing & Jeanne BlakeJanuary 17, 1998 (1998-01-17)
13"A Nun's Story"Jan EglesonStory by : Jan Oxenberg
Teleplay by : Richard Kramer & Jan Oxenberg
January 24, 1998 (1998-01-24)
14"Kindred Spirits"Robert YoungStory by : Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
Teleplay by : Marlane Meyer
March 7, 1998 (1998-03-07)
15"The Coldest Night of the Year"David PetrarcaBill Cain & Michael BreaultMarch 14, 1998 (1998-03-14)
16"Holy Words"Donna DeitchAnn Lewis HamiltonUNAIRED
17"Sex, God and Reality"Joan TewkesburyJan OxenbergUNAIRED
18"HIV Priest"James HaymanStory by : Paul Leland & Richard Kramer
Teleplay by : Richard Kramer
19"Sleeping Dogs"Elodie KeeneMarlane MeyerUNAIRED
20"Felix Culpa"Robert Allan AckermanBill Cain & Cyrus YavnehUNAIRED


It portrayed the administration of St. Thomas' church, a Roman Catholic parish in Chicago, Illinois. Exteriors were shot at Angelica Lutheran Church in the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles, selected for its brick Gothic architecture. The sanctuary of Angelica was also used to represent the sanctuary of a fellow clergyman in one of the episodes.

Nothing Sacred premiered on September 18, 1997 at 8:00pm/7c on ABC.

Broadcast history[edit]

  • Thursdays 8:00 p.m. (September 18, 1997 – December 18, 1997)
  • Saturdays 8:00 p.m. (January 17, 1998 – March 14, 1998)


The Catholic League and Alan Keyes, on its board of advisors, specifically, declared the show in 1997 a "sacrilege" according to one commentator, who also quoted Keyes as calling it "propaganda dressed up as entertainment[, infused with] belief that there are no moral absolutes."[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1998 ALMA Award Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Jose Zuniga
Outstanding Drama Series
Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Award (Television Series) Cate Bangs and Michael Baugh
Emmy Award Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Mark Isham
Outstanding Art Direction for a Series Cate Bangs, Michael Baugh, and William Vail (For episode "Hodie Christus Natus Est")
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama Kevin Anderson
Humanitas Prize Won 60 Minute Category Bill Cain
Peabody Award
PGA Awards Nominated Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic David Manson
Television Critics Association Awards Program of the Year
Outstanding New Program of the Year
Individual Achievement in Drama Kevin Anderson
Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Ann Dowd
Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Kevin Anderson
Won Founder's Award David Manson
YoungStar Award Nominated Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama TV Series Erika Christensen
1999 Writers Guild of America Award Won Episodic Drama Bill Cain (For episode "Proofs for the Existence of God")
Young Artist Award Nominated Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Kimberly Cullum


  1. ^ Armbrust, Roger (1997-10-09). "Catholic League Boycotts ABC's "Nothing Sacred"".
  2. ^ "Ellen Wins Peabody Award". The New York Times. 1998-04-03.
  3. ^ Dowd, Maureen, "Liberties; The Devil in Prime Time", The New York Times, September 24, 1997. Retrieved 2010-11-10.

External links[edit]