LOS ANGELES “The Bible” is getting its holy sequel.
NBC said Monday it is teaming with resident producer Mark Burnett (“The Voice,” “Celebrity Apprentice”) for “A.D.: Beyond the Bible” (working title), the follow-up to this spring’s popular cable miniseries “The Bible” from Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey. It’s the first announced project under the network’s new miniseries initiative.
“NBC is thrilled to bring this highly anticipated sequel to Mark and Roma’s ‘The Bible’ to network television,” Jennifer Salke, network president of entertainment, said in a statement. “There was huge interest in this project within the television community and NBC is gratified by Mark’s confidence in our ability to partner with him and position this miniseries as true event television.”
“The Bible,” oddly enough, made history on an entirely different network: History Channel. The cable network scored big with the 10-hour miniseries, which premiered to a hefty 13.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, in March and wrapped Easter Sunday with nearly 12 million viewers.
Since then, Burnett has hinted that a follow-up was in the works.
Burnett had been in talks with History, which is owned by the A&E Television Networks, about bringing the sequel there, but ultimately NBC offered a bigger paycheck, according to a source.
“Our new series, ‘A.D.: Beyond the Bible,’ is … a story that has to be told,” Burnett and Downey said. “It’s a story that changed the world. We look forward to making this an enormous television event on NBC.”
“A.D: Beyond the Bible” will follow the period after Jesus’ death – and the unrest in the Holy Land, which seems to be of particular interest to NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt.
“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. The day after ‘The Bible’ premiered, I told Mark we were on board with no hesitation for the follow-up miniseries.”
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