After the success of History’s miniseries The Bible, it should come as no surprise that creators Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are looking to do a follow-up. But it won’t be happening at History. The planned sequel miniseries, titled A.D., will make the leap from cable to network television, airing on NBC in 2015. The Peacock announced today that they’ve greenlit a 12-hour miniseries called A.D., which will come from Burnett and Downey, and serve as a follow-up to The Bible. If all goes as planned, the miniseries will air in the spring of 2015.
History’s The Bible left off with the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the immediate aftermath of that event. From what NBC’s Robert Greenblatt says in the network’s official statement, A.D. will focus on the events that took place after Christ’s death…
“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. 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. The heft of a broadcast network, combined with the promotional arms of NBCUniversal and Comcast, will push this miniseries to a mass audience. We value our relationship with Mark and Roma and know that no one could bring this story to life better than them.”
The script for the miniseries will be written by Simon Block (The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall). A director has yet to be set, and NBC plans to announce casting at a later date.
The Bible brought in a total of 13.1 million viewers for its March 3 premiere on History when factoring in live-plus-same day viewing, with the final episode bringing in 11.7 million viewers. It’s not hard to understand why NBC would take the opportunity to present the sequel, especially when we factor in what Greenblatt said about NBC being “firmly in the event business.” The network did extremely well with their recent live broadcast of The Sound of Music Live!, and it's already looking like they're planning to do another live musical broadcast next year. NBC also announced that they're developing a four-hour Rosemary’s Baby miniseries, adapted from Ira Levin’s best-selling suspense novel.
NBC isn’t the only network pushing forward with more event programming. Fox has Wayward Pines and 24: Live Another Day lined up, as well as a number of other projects in development, including a possible TV adaptation of Shogun. Meanwhile, ABC has the Cold War-set miniseries The Assets set to air next month. So TV viewers should expect to see more event programming on network TV in the coming years.
As for Burnett and Downey's next project, while we have more than a year to wait for A.D., Burnett and Downey have feature film Son of God set to arrive in theaters February 28.