Netflix Orders Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Religious Drama ‘Messiah’ to Series

Netflix has officially ordered the religious drama “Messiah” to series, Variety has learned.

The series will premiere on the streaming service in 2019. News of its development first broke in March. It was created by writer Michael Petroni who brought the project to Netflix with Mark Burnett. Both men will executive produce along with Roma Downey, Andrew Deane, and James McTeigue. McTeigue will also direct.

“’Messiah’ promises to be a fascinating series for viewers of every faith, and a thrilling drama filled with multi-layered characters set on a global stage,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix.

The series will chronicle the modern world’s reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East creating a groundswell of followers around him claiming he is the Messiah. In ten hour-long episodes, the story unfolds from multiple points of view, including a young CIA agent, an Israeli Shin Bet officer, a Latino preacher and his Texan daughter, a Palestinian refugee and the media, among others.

Petroni’s previous credits include the creating the ABC drama “Miracles,” which starred Skeet Ulrich as an investigator working on behalf of the Catholic Church. He also wrote the screenplay for the feature film adaptation of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and the 2011 Anthony Hopkins exorcism horror-drama “The Rite.” Netflix is producing the series, while MGM Television, of which Burnett is the president, is not involved with the project.

“‘Messiah’ is a series that will have the audience asking big questions. What if someone showed up in 2018 amid strange occurrences and was thought to be the Messiah?  What would society do? How would the media cover him? Would millions simply quit work? Could government’s collapse?” said Downey and Burnett.”It’s a series that could change everything.”

This is the latest religion-based project for Burnett and Downey. The husband and wife team previously collaborated on the History miniseries “The Bible,” the TV movie “Women of the Bible” at Lifetime, “A.D. The Bible Continues” on NBC, and “The Dovekeepers” at CBS, among others. Burnett is also well known for producing reality TV hits such as “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” and “Shark Tank.”Petroni is repped by WME and Industry Entertainment Partners.

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