NBC Cancels ‘A.D.’ As Producers Plan Digital Revival For Biblical Drama

NBC has canceled “A.D.: The Bible Continues” after one season, but producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey plan to return to the greatest story ever told on their nascent digital channel.

“A.D” averaged about 6.5 million viewers and a 1.o in adults 18-49 in live-plus-7 Nielsen ratings across its 12-episode run, which ended June 21. The series was designed to pick up where Burnett and Downey’s blockbuster 2013 miniseries “The Bible” left off and chronicle stories from the formative years of Christianity.

The numbers were too soft for a renewal on NBC. But now that the “A.D.” moniker is established with a devoted cadre of viewers, Burnett and Downey see it as a perfect tentpole for the launch of the OTT channel they have been working on since partnering with MGM to form United Artists Media Group last fall.

The online channel is envisioned as a hub for all manner of faith- and religion-focused content, including original scripted programming. “A.D.” hailed from Burnett and Downey’s Lightworkers Media banner, making it easy for them to reclaim the show from NBC.

The channel is not expected to bow until late 2016 or early 2017. Burnett, Downey and MGM are in the process of sorting through their options for business models and digital partnership opportunities for the launch. For now, the actors on “A.D.” will be released from their obligations to the show, which may require some recasting when production gets back on track.

“A.D.” starred Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus. Richard Coyle, James Callis, Babou Alieu Ceesay, Chipo Chung and Adam Levy rounded out the cast.

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