Thou shalt make more TV shows about the Bible.
Apparently Hollywood is paying attention to the massive success of this year’s History Channel miniseries titled “The Bible,” and now NBC has decided to pick up on the program with a sequel whose working title is “A.D.: Beyond the Bible.”
Heading up the program are executive producers Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, who brought to life the previous 10-hour miniseries.
“NBC is thrilled to bring this highly anticipated sequel to Mark and Roma’s ‘The Bible’ to network television,” said Jennifer Salke, the network’s president of entertainment. “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.”
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Burnett had reportedly been in talks with the History Channel to bring the sequel to life there, but in the end, NBC offered a bigger blessing of a paycheck, a source close to production told the Los Angeles Times.
“We are thrilled to be working with Bob, Jen and Quinn Taylor to bring the follow-up to our hit cable series ‘The Bible’ to broadcast television with NBC,” said Burnett and Downey. “Our new series, ‘A.D.: Beyond the Bible,’ is another massive project and a major commitment, but it’s a story that has to be told. It’s a story that changed the world. We look forward to making this an enormous television event on NBC.”
No word on when the program is expected to air, but the sequel will follow the period after Jesus’ death and resurrection – and the ensuing unrest in the Holy Land.
“I followed the development process of ‘The Bible’ closely with Mark and knew that the story was far from over after Christ’s Crucifixion,” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt. “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. 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.’”
The New York Times calls Burnett “television’s most successful creator and producer of reality television shows,” with current hits on three networks, “Survivor” on CBS, “Shark Tank” on ABC and the top-rated entry, “The Voice” on NBC.
“The Bible” was the top-rated new series of the year on cable television,with its premiere episode in March reaching 13 million viewers.
The finale attracted 11.7 million, both enormous totals for both cable or broadcast TV.
NBC says the DVD version, which went on sale immediately after the program’s conclusion, has topped one million in sales, the biggest result for a TV series in five years.
“The Bible” miniseries received some criticism from Christians who objected to the storyline of the show not always sticking to Scripture, as WND reported.
When the program debuted, it was obvious there were glaring additions made to the TV show that were never mentioned in the Bible.
With the first episode focusing on the events in Genesis and Exodus, the first major non-biblical entry was the inclusion of an angel turning into a Ninja-style warrior wielding two swords and embarking on an expertly choreographed, slow-motion stabbing spree to slay the wicked men of Sodom, as can be seen in the following video clip:
According to the Old Testament, angels merely struck the citizens of Sodom with blindness before God firebombed the entire city. The TV series did include those elements as well. The show, however, did not mention the rampant homosexuality in Sodom, or that the city's men actually sought to have sex with the angels. (Genesis 19:5)
The show also made headlines for having the character of Satan have a strong resemblance to President Barack Obama.
"This is utter nonsense," Burnett and Downey said in a joint statement at the time. "The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several biblical epics – including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our president."
Downey added, "Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our president, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of 'The Bible.'"
The History Channel noted: "History Channel has the highest respect for President Obama. The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History's 'The Bible' is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history."