"The Bible" sequel "A.D.: Beyond the Bible" has officially got a 12-episode series order from NBC. The miniseries, which will serve as a follow-up to the Mark Burnett and Roma Downey-created miniseries, is set to premiere on the network in 2015.
"Last year when Mark Burnett was launching 'The Bible' on cable, I told him, without hesitation, that if he wanted to tell more of the story, we'd love to do it at NBC," says Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. "We are firmly in the 'event' business and nothing has more event potential than A.D. as it continues immediately after the 'The Bible' ended."
Jennifer Salke, president, NBC Entertainment, adds, "You might think the story is over at the Crucifixion, but as most of the world knows, that was only the beginning. Everyone's lives were completely altered in an instant and the immediate aftermath of Christ's death had an impact on his disciples, his mother Mary, and key political and religious leaders of the time."
She goes on teasing, "In the first episode alone you see the last moments of the Crucifixion, Judas taking his own life after betraying Christ, Peter denying Jesus three times, and then the miracle of the Resurrection. We feel so fortunate to be in the hands of Mark and Roma, who have proven that the greatest story ever told is still just that."
Burnett and his wife Downey will return as executive producers for the upcoming miniseries, while Simon Block will write the script. Burnett and Downey say in a statement, "It is the story that changed the world. Millions have died for it and billions live by it. We know that an enormous community will be counting the days until A.D. premieres. We look forward to making this an epic global television event."
The show would "begin in the dark days after Jesus' betrayal and death. A perfect storm brews in the Holy Land, fueled by social injustice, Roman military oppression and religious unrest. High priests and the Herod dynasty vie for power. Zealot revolutionaries turn to violence to regain what they believe is their promised land."
"And in the face of terrible odds and brutal persecution, the small band of Jesus' disciples stand against the combined might of Rome and their own local authorities. In a generation of rebellion, war, famine, and carnage, who can they trust? Who should they fear? Will tomorrow bring a violent death? For many, it does ... but others survive, and as the storm around them breaks, the fate of Israel, of Rome and of their faith is decided."
"The Bible" delivered huge ratings for History Channel when it aired in March, averaging about 11 million viewers per episode.