The Inspiration Network, also known as INSP, is a religious and family programming based television network headquartered in Indian Land, South Carolina, near Charlotte. It is the flagship network of parent company The Inspiration Networks, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inspiration Ministries. It features a mixture of family value-based and religious programming, with programs from more than 70 different ministries representing more than 20 different Protestant or Protestant-based religious denominations, plus original programming for children, teens, and families. The network is also seen on various Ion Television network affiliates during the overnight hours, in addition to its own cable network.
The network was originally founded in the 1970s as the PTL Satellite Network, by Christian televangelists Jim Bakker and wife Tammy Faye Bakker, notable for their daily Christian variety program, The PTL Club. During the Bakkers' tenure, the network later became known as the PTL Television Network and finally PTL The Inspirational Network. In 1990, following Jim Bakker's resignation that ultimately sent the PTL ministry as well as Heritage USA, a Christian family theme park near Fort Mill, SC where the network was originally located into bankruptcy, San Diego-based televangelist Morris Cerullo bought the cable television network for $7 million from the United States Bankruptcy Court in Columbia, South Carolina.
After the Bakkers' departure in the late 1980s, the PTL call letters had been dropped and the network renamed simply The Inspirational Network in an effort to make it more marketable to cable systems and distance it from PTL and the Bakkers. After Morris Cerullo's purchase of the network, his son David and his family moved from San Diego to Charlotte to oversee operations with David Cerullo ultimately assuming the title of Chief Executive Officer. The network was moved from the grounds of the former Heritage USA to a newly constructed broadcast facility in Charlotte, North Carolina and rebranded as "The New Inspirational Network", later becoming "INSP The Inspirational Network" and then "INSP The Inspiration Network". In the fall of 2008, the network debuted a new logo and dropped "Network" from its name. The network was known for a time simply as Inspiration but continued to use the abbreviated name INSP.
In October 2010, the network announced a major rebranding with an added emphasis on family programming. Infomercials, which were once a part of the weekend and late night lineup were removed and reruns of popular family-oriented secular programming were added in prime time, including The Waltons, Our House and Highway to Heaven, including other secular family oriented shows, specials and movies. Along with the rebranding came a new logo, tagline and a return to the INSP moniker in place of the more formal "Inspiration" name. The broadcast facility remains in Charlotte, while the network's offices have been relocated to a newly constructed campus known as the City of Light in Indian Land, South Carolina, a Charlotte suburb. All of the network's operations and broadcast facilities are eventually to be consolidated in planned facilities to be ultimately constructed at the South Carolina campus. David Cerullo remains as its CEO, with wife Barbara, son Ben, and daughter Becky all working in various leadership roles at the network.
In addition to being broadcast throughout the world on most major cable and satellite providers, INSP is broadcast on Dish Network Channel 259. The network was originally added to Dish on August 28, 2008. A brief carriage dispute took place in August 2011 that caused INSP to be removed from the Dish lineup for three weeks. After several fan petitions were started and overwhelming negative public outcry over the network's removal, Dish Network agreed to add INSP back to its lineup on August 31, 2011. The addition came just in time for INSP's new fall schedule to take place. INSP added Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, The Brady Bunch, The Big Valley, and Bonanza in fall 2011. INSP continued to air The Waltons, Our House and Wind at My Back along with the new shows. On January 2, 2012, INSP added Little House on the Prairie and Happy Days to their lineup. The network now airs more syndicated than religious programming.
- INSP website
- ''The Revelation Will Be Televised, How a Christian media organization is preaching a prosperous gospel'' Creative Loafing, March 14, 2007
- ''Surging ministry, growing questions,'' Charlotte Observer, May 26, 2009
- ''Religious network promises, fails to deliver the goods,'' Charlotte Observer, May 26, 2009
- '' INSP Seeks a Broader Audience,'' Multichannel News, September 27, 2010