U.S. broadcaster NBC has picked up the sequel to Mark Burnett (pictured) and Roma Downey’s hit miniseries The Bible, which aired on cable network History earlier this year.
A.D.: Beyond The Bible (working title) begins in the days following Jesus’ betrayal and death and traces the evolution of Christianity.
A coproduction between Downey and Burnett’s LightWorkers Media, Hearst Productions and Universal Television, the docudrama will be executive produced by the The Bible team of Burnett, Downey and Richard Bedser.
The original 10-part series, which starred Downey as Mary, was a huge ratings hit for History when it aired in March. The premiere episode attracted 13.1 million viewers and the final episode attracted 11.7 million. The DVD release of the series has sold more than one million copies in the past three months.
“NBC is thrilled to bring this highly anticipated sequel to Mark and Roma’s The Bible to network television,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke 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.”
“I followed the development process of The Bible closely with Mark and knew that the story was far from over after Christ’s crucifixion,” added 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.”
A.D.: Beyond The Bible is the first project commissioned under NBC’s new long-form programming arm, which is being headed up by former ABC exec Quinn Taylor.