Fox is adding a religious twist to the live musical event genre, tapping Tyler Perry to host and narrate a two-hour special about the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life.
Titled “The Passion,” the project will air live on Palm Sunday and will tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth, from presiding over the Last Supper and his betrayal by Judas to his trial by Pontius Pilate, conviction, crucifixion and resurrection.
The story will be set in modern-day New Orleans, Perry’s hometown. It will unfold live at some of the Crescent City’s most iconic locations and feature a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross from Champion Square outside the Superdome to the live stage at Woldenburg Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. A cast of as-yet-to-be-announced stars will feature a variety of popular music, arranged by music producer Adam Anders (“Glee,” “Rock of Ages”).
“‘The Passion’ is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational,” said David Madden, president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company. “We are so thrilled to have the multi-talented Tyler Perry join us for this epic music production. He is the perfect host to lead the cast – and viewers – through the streets of New Orleans in this contemporary re-telling of a timeless story.”
Produced by Dick Clark Productions, Eye2Eye Media and Anders Media Inc., the project is exec produced by Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Jacco Doornbos, Anders and David Grifhorst. Robert Deaton serves as executive producer and showrunner.
“The Passion” will air at 8 p.m. March 20 on Fox.
In other TV news:
BET Networks has announced this year’s honorees for its annual BET Honors award show: “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels will receive the Television and Film Award, Ariel Investment president Mellody Hobson will receive the Corporate Citizen Award, former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. will receive the Public Service Award, Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle will receive the Musical Arts Awards and music mogul and Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid will receive the Business of Entertainment Award.
The ceremony, which will be hosted by Arsenio Hall, will be taped on Jan. 23 at Washington D.C.’s Warner Theatre and will air at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 on BET Networks.
The TV Academy is now accepting entries for the Ninth Annual Television Academy Honors, which is meant to highlight TV that enlightens, entertains and educates viewers while also promoting positive social change. Eligible programming includes fiction or nonfiction series that aired (or will air) during the 2015 calendar year that were not movies, miniseries or fiction/nonfiction specials. Honorees will be announced in April. More information is available on the TV Academy’s website.
Travel Channel is toasting Jack Maxwell’s “Booze Traveler,” giving a 16-episode third season to the series that follows the actor-adventurer as he seeks out the world’s most interesting beverages and the people who drink them.
“Booze Traveler” airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on Travel Channel.
Health-focused channel Z Living has struck a deal with 3 Ball Entertainment that puts three series in development: The J.D. Roth-hosted “The Big Fat Truth,” the animal-themed “Finding Fido” and budget-conscious event planning series “Homegrown Wedding.” The deal is the first under new Z Living g.m. Rafe Oller and head of programming Tim Krubsack.