Nothing Sacred (TV series)

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
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
Jose Zuniga
Tamara Mello
Theme music composerMark Isham
Composer(s)Jeff Beal
Country of originUSA
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes20 (5 unaired)
Executive producer(s)Richard Kramer
David Manson
Producer(s)Bill Cain
Greer Shephard
Cyrus Yavneh
Running time60 mins.
Production company(s)Sarabande Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original networkABC
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 18, 1997 
March 14, 1998


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 YoungTeleplay by: Marlane Meyer
Story by: Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
September 25, 1997 (1997-09-25)
3"Mixed Blessings"Eugene CorrTeleplay by: Matt Fulony
Story by: Matt Fulony & Paul Leland
October 2, 1997 (1997-10-02)
4"Parents and Children"Claudia WeillTeleplay by: Jan Oxenberg
Story by: Jan Oxenberg & Paul Leland
October 9, 1997 (1997-10-09)
5"Roman Catholic Holiday"Sarah Pia AndersonTeleplay by: Marlane Meyer
Story by: Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
October 16, 1997 (1997-10-16)
6"Spirit and Substance"Arvin BrownTeleplay by: Marlane Meyer
Story by: Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
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 MasonTeleplay by: Michael Breault
Story by: Bill Cain & 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"TBATBAJanuary 24, 1998 (1998-01-24)
14"Kindred Spirits"Robert YoungTeleplay by: Marlane Meyer
Story by: Marlane Meyer & Gary Rieck
March 7, 1998 (1998-03-07)
15"The Coldest Night of the Year"TBATBAMarch 14, 1998 (1998-03-14)
17"Sex, God and Reality"Joan TewkesburyJan OxenbergUNAIRED
18"HIV Priest"James HaymanTeleplay by: Richard Kramer
Story by: Paul Leland & Richard Kramer
19"Sleeping Dogs"TBATBAUNAIRED
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

  • 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

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1998ALMA AwardNominatedOutstanding Actor in a Drama SeriesJose Zuniga
Outstanding Drama Series
Art Directors GuildExcellence in Production Design Award (Television Series)Cate Bangs and Michael Baugh
Emmy AwardOutstanding Main Title Theme MusicMark Isham
Outstanding Art Direction for a SeriesCate Bangs, Michael Baugh, and William Vail (For episode "Hodie Christus Natus Est")
Golden Globe AwardBest Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - DramaKevin Anderson
Humanitas PrizeWon60 Minute CategoryBill Cain
Peabody Award
PGA AwardsNominatedTelevision Producer of the Year Award in EpisodicDavid Manson
Television Critics Association AwardsProgram of the Year
Outstanding New Program of the Year
Individual Achievement in DramaKevin Anderson
Viewers for Quality Television AwardsBest Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesAnn Dowd
Best Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesKevin Anderson
WonFounder's AwardDavid Manson
YoungStar AwardNominatedBest Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama TV SeriesErika Christensen
1999Writers Guild of America AwardWonEpisodic DramaBill Cain (For episode "Proofs for the Existence of God")
Young Artist AwardNominatedBest Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young ActressKimberly 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.
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