Mark Burnett says 'A.D.: Beyond the Bible' could be NBC's biggest series in years
Hit reality show creator Mark Burnett has had recent success creating biblical movies and television shows, and predicts that his next project, "A.D.: Beyond the Bible," will be another goldmine.
The NBC television series will begin filming in September, and premiere on Easter Sunday 2015. Burnett said it "could become NBC's biggest series in many, many years."
"Beyond the Bible" begins after the resurrection of Christ, and follows the lives of King Herod's family, Roman politicians, temple priests, and the disciples. Burnett said the storylines are powerful.
"These disciples, after Jesus dies and resurrects, the Holy Spirit comes upon them and there is only one way for them–that's spreading the good news of Jesus," he told Forbes Magazine. "What a drama."
The fascinating stories of the Bible have been quite profitable for Burnett and his wife and business partner, actress Roma Downey of "Touched by an Angel."
After creating and spearheading "Survivor," "The Apprentice," "Shark Tank," "The Voice," and many other hit shows, he and Downey created "The Bible" miniseries for the History Channel in 2013.
The ten-episode airing at times beat out "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones," and attracted more than 10 million viewers per episode on average.
The couple also used footage from the Jesus portion of "The Bible" miniseries and turned them into a feature-length film called "Son of God." The February 2014 release grossed $60 million domestically.
In January, MGM announced that it was remaking the epic film "Ben-Hur." The 2015 version will focus more on Jesus in a parallel storyline, the A.V. Club reported. Burnett and Downey have signed on as producers.
Although media interest may ebb and flow, NBC's president of late-night and alternative programming, Paul Telegdy, said that religious stories will always be popular.
"There are not a lot of books being read these days," he told Forbes. "But there is one that's being read and reread, and that's the Bible."