When Mark Burnett’s History Channel miniseries The Bible debuted, it was a huge success and it didn’t take long for talk about a sequel series being developed that would that would fill in the rest of the story not yet told. Burnett was pretty adamant about making the sequel happen, but History Channel opted not to be the home of the second miniseries, wanting to focus on a new original series, Houdini, with Adrien Brody. But Burnett isn’t one to be deterred; he’s taken his new miniseries to NBC, who is more than happy to attach itself to the success of The Bible.
Calling itself A.D.: Beyond the Bible, the new miniseries will be NBC’s first project under its new long-form programming initiative brought on by former ABC long-form executive Quinn Taylor, who is now the executive vp of movies, miniseries and international co-productions. THR reported A.D. will show us the days following Jesus’ betrayal and death. What that means in terms of content taken from scripture is Jesus’ resurrection and the formation of the Christian religion, which is told throughout the book of Acts and the letters from Paul. Some stories from Acts were already told in The Bible, but there is still plenty more just waiting to be picked up and brought to life.
NBC’s obvious goal is for A.D. to be as successful as The Bible, which debuted on History Channel to 13.1 million viewers and ended with 11.7 million. When it was released on Blu-ray and DVD, it quickly became the top-selling miniseries of all time, selling 1 million units in three months. Theoretically, A.D. should have a better chance of being successful than the Bible. NBC is a broadcast network, reaching a wider audience than History Channel, but we also have to keep in mind this is NBC, a seemingly cursed network doomed to poor ratings. Considering NBC’s recent troubles with ratings, A.D. isn’t guaranteed to be a success, but it stands a better chance than anything else airing on the struggling network.