The Gospel according to the History Channel
Gail Choice | 3/6/2013, 5 p.m.
It's nice to know that in this day and age the Bible still matters to a lot of people. The premiere episode of the "The Bible," made history for The History Channel, which began airing Sunday at 8 p.m. and will continue over the next four Sundays, culminating on Easter.
According to The History Channel, over its two telecasts on premiere night, "The Bible" averaged 14.8 million viewers, 5 million adults 18-49 and 5.6 million adults 25-54. In the 8-10 p.m. premiere 13.1 million total viewers flocked to "The Bible," including 4.6 million adults 25-54.
"The Bible" is the No. 1 cable entertainment telecast of the year. Leading into the premiere, history.com had it best day ever, and "The Bible" trended as No. 1 on Twitter with celebrities and influencers tweeting their own personal tune-in messages.
Nancy Dubuc, president of entertainment and media at A+E Networks, says, "The success of 'The Bible' has catapulted The History Channel into one of the most powerful brands across the media landscape, and we could not be more thrilled and more proud. We are the No. 1 cable entertainment telecast of the year to date. Leading into the premiere we had the best day ever on history.com, and 'The Bible' trended No. 1 on Twitter. Clearly, there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment. Clearly, the passion for this project has resonated with our viewers and across the nation. We are thrilled, and the story is only just beginning."
What remains to be seen is if this momentum will continue. Most Americans are familiar with many stories of the Bible so when the docudrama appears to be rushing through a biblical story, it's up to the audience to fill in the gaps. But to the uninformed, what a great opportunity to open up your Bibles.
Executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett say, "Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people--Moses and Abraham--in one day than ever before. We've been working on this project for the past four years now, and are deeply honored to be given this once-in-a-generation opportunity to breathe new visual life into the Bible's profound stories. The Bible gives meaning and purpose to billions of people around the world. We believe the success of the series will spark the curiosity of billions more."
Indeed, the producers may have had a heavenly calling. You may remember Roma Downey from the very popular "Touched by an Angel" series, as Monica. Downey has said that she and her husband "felt called to do this."
Hubby Mark Burnett is also a familiar name in television. Burnett is an award-winning executive producer of American and international television. Currently, he produces shows including "The Voice," "Survivor," "The Celebrity Apprentice," "Shark Tank," and the "2013 People's Choice Awards." Burnett has won four Emmy Awards.
Actor, singer and voice actor, Keith David serves as narrator on the project. David's rich, deep voice can be heard in such favorites as "The Princess and the Frog" and "Coraline."
David has received Emmy Awards for his narration of two Ken Burns documentaries: "The War" and "Unforgivable Blackness," and was nominated for his narration of "Jazz." He received a daytime Emmy nomination for his work in Showtime's "The Tiger Wood's Story."
History Channel's "The Bible" is an awe-inspiring production that delivers. It is impossible to tell all the stories of the Bible thoroughly, but the production does its best to give the essence of the stories and leaves it up to the audience to learn for themselves the power of the Bible.
In April, "The Bible" series will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD with hours of exclusive special features and extras making it a must-own for every home. A book series by Mark and Roma is currently available in stores.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.