Burnett and wife Roma Downey had been teasing a follow-up to the 10-part History mini while on the press circuit recently. “Beyond the Bible” will begin in the days after Jesus’ betrayal and death, and, according to Downey and Burnett, “is another massive project and major commitment, but it’s a story that has to be told.”
“The Bible” accrued strong ratings for History in March, at times pulling almost 12 million viewers, even when facing the stiff competition of AMC’s “Walking Dead” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Miniseries, which Burnett and Downey marketed at mega-churches across the country, also drew controversy on social media in addition to its consistently high viewership.
“I followed the development process of ‘The Bible’ closely with Mark and knew that the story was far from over after Christ’s Crucifixion. In fact, what happened in the aftermath – which is essentially the beginning of Christianity – is utterly fascinating,” said NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt. “The day after ‘The Bible’ premiered, I told Mark we were on board with no hesitation for the follow-up miniseries. This will be attention-getting in every way, and we’re proud to continue our association with Mark which has just grown exponentially from ‘The Voice.’”
The team behind “The Bible” will partner again for “Beyond the Bible,” with Downey, Burnett and Richard Bedser exec producing. Project will be a co-production between LightWorkers Media, Hearst Prods. and Universal TV, and is the first project to fall under NBC’s recently established longform initiative.