Mark Burnett Roma Downey

Duo created History Channel's Bible miniseries

It was at last year’s summit that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey revealed footage of “The Bible,” a 10-hour miniseries that wound up becoming a ratings juggernaut and the most purchased TV-on-DVD release of all time.

One year later, the creators say they are humbled to be this year’s keynote speakers. “There’s a real poetry to return to where the first scenes of The Bible were shown, when we got such a strong initial reaction from those who saw it,” says Downey, who also plays Mother Mary in the series. “It opened an opportunity for dialogue and for families to discuss faith.”

Downey adds the pair “wanted to provide a version of the Bible that had gritty realism and an emotional heartbeat … making it feel contemporary and appeal to a 21st century audience.”

Burnett and Downey were passionate about bringing the stories to all demos. “It was made for everybody,” he says. “There was a predominance of viewers who enjoyed the story but never read the Bible; others who went to Bible school and were thrilled to be reminded of their childhood.”

Both believe the series was successful because it captivated audiences as a testimonial of faith and literature that permeates all aspects of American culture. “The Bible is the underpinning foundation of the nation,” says Burnett. “Without the Bible there wouldn’t have been an America. (The Bible) is also the foundation of storytelling. Without the Bible there would be no Shakespeare, no ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

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