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Tammy and Jim

Tammy Faye: New show, new Jim

Televangelist's career is reborn

January 18, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Gloria Hillard

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It's that familiar voice and lattice style-mascara ... It's former television evangelist Tammy Faye, and she's back in what was practically her home for 25 years -- the television studio.

"It's an interesting time, a frightening time," Tammy Faye Messner notes of her re-entry into television. "I have to pray to God for a lot of wisdom. It's the first time I've ever done anything on my own."

She's not really alone. Co-hosting the new syndicated talk show with her is Jim J. Bullock. "The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show" reaches about 40 percent of the country, and producers hope to take it nationwide by fall.

Messner doesn't think it unusual that she, a former television evangelist, is now paired with a gay co-host. "I don't think of it as an odd pair," she says. "We're just two home-town kids that got together."

For years Messner and former husband Jim Bakker were Christian television's favorite couple. And then in 1989, Bakker was sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding their followers of millions.

Tammy Faye

But for Messner, the incident points to a larger lesson. "No matter what happens you can get up and start over again," she says. "If you change your attitude, you can make it through any situation."

Now she has re-married, and says she is no longer in touch with Bakker. "But if we were in contact I suppose we'd be friends," she says, "because we've always been friends."



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