'The Bible' followup jumps to NBC from History Channel

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the-bible-ratings-history.jpgNBC is joining the miniseries wave in a big way: It will produce a follow-up series to "The Bible," which scored big ratings for the History Channel earlier this year.

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are producing a sequel to "The Bible" with the working title "A.D.: Beyond the Bible." It will follow the tumultuous time after Jesus was crucified, when the Roman Empire was trying to bring zealots to heel and the apostles worked to spread the message of Christianity in defiance of the authorities. There's no word yet on an airdate.

"We are thrilled to be working with [NBC executives] Bob [Greenblatt], Jen [Salke] and Quinn Taylor to bring the follow-up to our hit cable series 'The Bible' to broadcast television with NBC," Burnett and Downey say in a statement.  "Our new series, 'A.D.: Beyond the Bible,' is another massive project and a major commitment, but it's a story that has to be told. It's a story that changed the world. We look forward to making this an enormous television event on NBC."

"The Bible" was a huge hit for History in March, averaging 11.4 million viewers in overnight ratings during its five-week run. (By comparison, NBC drew only about 5 million viewers per night on the Sundays "The Bible" aired.)

NBC, incidentally, aired another miniseries called "A.D." back in 1985 that covered much of the same subject matter, although in a decidedly different tone than "The Bible" struck. Here's a promo for that one:

Photo/Video credit: History Channel