Reality television producer Mark Burnett brought in millions of viewers with "The Bible," a History Channel series that he co-produced with his wife, actress Roma Downey. Now, following the success of this first endeavor, a five-week program that took viewers through the Old and New Testaments, the duo is planning a follow-up series that will pick up right where the last one left off: Jesus' death.
"The Bible" follow-up, though, won't be airing on History. Instead, NBC will be picking it up, Entertainment Weekly reports. Apparently recognizing the potential financial gain that the network can bring in as a result of owning the rights to the new program, NBC will be airing "A.D. Beyond the Bible."
Executive producers Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Pete Hammond attend a special event for History's 'The Bible' at Harmony Gold Theatre on June 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Getty Images for History
The program's focus will be on the early history of the Christian church. It will cover the apostles and the early Christians who fought to progress the faith and survive Roman rule following Jesus' death. These subjects were not covered in the first 10 hours that already aired on History.
Here's more about the series, as per EW.com:
Here are Burnett’s plans for 'Beyond the Bible': “It will begin in the dark days after Jesus’ betrayal and death. A perfect storm brews in the Holy Land, fueled by social injustice, Roman military oppression and religious unrest. High priests and the Herod dynasty vie for power. Zealot revolutionaries turn to violence to regain what they believe is their promised land. And in the face of terrible odds and brutal persecution, the small band of Jesus’ disciples stand against the combined might of Rome and their own local authorities. In a generation of rebellion, war, famine, and carnage, who can they trust? Who should they fear? Will tomorrow bring a violent death? For many, it does … but others survive, and as the storm around them breaks, the fate of Israel, of Rome and of their faith is decided.”
In a release surrounding the new project, Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, praised the original "Bible" series and expressed his excitement with Burnett's new television plans.
“I followed the development process of 'The Bible' closely with Mark and knew that the story was far from over after Christ’s Crucifixion,” he said. “In fact, what happened in the aftermath – which is essentially the beginning of Christianity – is utterly fascinating."
This publicity image released by History shows Diogo Morcaldo as Jesus, right, in a scene from "The Bible," on History. The producers of the cable TV miniseries on the Bible say Internet chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is "utter nonsense." Mark Burnett and Roma Burnett said Monday the Moroccan actor who played Satan in the History channel series has played Satanic characters in other Biblical programs long before Obama was elected president. Credit: AP
Apparently the deal has been on the table for quite some time. While TheBlaze previously reported that a movie version of the original series was in the works and that a sequel was possible, the NBC announcement is both a confirmation and a new development -- one that has been in the works for quite a bit, it seems.
"The day after The Bible premiered, I told Mark we were on board with no hesitation for the follow-up miniseries," Greenblatt continued. "This will be attention-getting in every way, and we’re proud to continue our association with Mark which has just grown exponentially from 'The Voice.'"
In addition to Burnett and Downey, Universal Television (NBC's studio) and Hearst Productions will also join in as partners on production for the new series. Financial details surrounding the deal were not immediately released.
(H/T: Entertainment Weekly)
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