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NBC greenlights 'The Bible' follow-up 'A.D.'

by jmaloni

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Tue, Dec 17th 2013 03:45 pm

Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett, Roma Downey to executive produce historical project

NBC has greenlit the 12-hour miniseries "A.D.," a follow-up to the miniseries "The Bible" that aired on History earlier this year from creators Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The project will be produced by LightWorkers Media with Burnett, Downey and Richard Bedser serving as executive producers.

"A.D." will most likely air in spring 2015.

"Last year when Mark Burnett was launching 'The Bible' on cable, I told him, without hesitation, that if he wanted to tell more of the story, we'd love to do it at NBC," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. "We are firmly in the 'event' business, and nothing has more event potential than 'A.D.' as it continues immediately after the 'The Bible' ended. The heft of a broadcast network, combined with the promotional arms of NBCUniversal and Comcast, will push this miniseries to a mass audience. We value our relationship with Mark and Roma and know that no one could bring this story to life better than them."

"You might think the story is over at the Crucifixion, but as most of the world knows, that was only the beginning," added Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. "Everyone's lives were completely altered in an instant, and the immediate aftermath of Christ's death had an impact on his disciples, his mother Mary, and key political and religious leaders of the time. In the first episode alone you see the last moments of the Crucifixion, Judas taking his own life after betraying Christ, Peter denying Jesus three times, and then the miracle of the Resurrection. We feel so fortunate to be in the hands of Mark and Roma, who have proven that the greatest story ever told is still just that."

"We are so thrilled to be all systems go with NBC on 'A.D.,' our follow-up to 'The Bible,' " Downey and Burnett said. "It is the story that changed the world. Millions have died for it and billions live by it. We know that an enormous community will be counting the days until 'A.D.' premieres. We look forward to making this an epic global television event."

Simon Block, who is two-time BAFTA-nominated for the TV movie "The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall," will write the script. A director and cast will be announced at a later date.

For its March 3 premiere on History in live-plus-same day viewing, "The Bible" drew 13.1 million viewers. The final episode of the 10-part series, which aired on Easter Sunday, drew 11.7 million and defeated "The Walking Dead" in the 9 p.m. hour.

When including live-plus-7 figures, "The Bible" averaged 13.2 million viewers and was the third most-watched cable television series or miniseries in 2013.

Immediately following its cable telecasts, "The Bible" became a huge DVD seller. The miniseries sold 525,000 units in its first week on sale, which ranks as the fastest-selling DVD release in the past five years. It's also the top miniseries DVD seller of all-time in the first week of release.

Burnett is a five-time Emmy Award winner who has produced more than 2,400 hours of television programming, which regularly airs in more than 70 countries worldwide. Currently, Burnett's network series include "The Voice," "The Sing-Off" and "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" on NBC, as well as "Shark Tank" (ABC) and "Survivor" (CBS). He has also produced the MTV Movie Awards, People's Choice Awards and the primetime Emmys.
In addition to television, Downey and Burnett are working on the feature film "Son of God," to be released by 20th Century Fox in February. Time magazine named Burnett one of the world's most influential people. He was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2010, and has served two elected terms on the board of directors for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles.

Emmy-nominated actress Downey and Burnett launched LightWorkers Media in 2011 with the children's DVD and book series "Little Angels" and its companion "Little Angels Storybook Bible." LightWorkers Media is dedicated to shining a light and bringing uplifting content to people of all ages.

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