(Photo: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine)
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's upcoming book Killing Jesus: A History is being adapted by the National Geographic Channel into a TV feature, following up on his two previous bestsellers Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln.
"I think the popularity of Bill's franchise speaks about how O'Reilly and [Martin] Dugard are turning the notch up at every possible opportunity with these new accounts of history," NGC president Howard Owens told The Hollywood Reporter.
"Killing Lincoln proved our audience's response to factual drama. The audacity of these books is in the way Bill thinks and tells a story. We think it fits really well with the history of the Bible, and we've had a lot of success in the religious genre," he added.
"Killing Lincoln," which premiered in February, brought very good ratings for the network, as high as 3.4 million viewers, and starred Billy Campbell as the 16th president and Jesse Johnson as John Wilkes Booth. "Killing Kennedy" will also air later this year.
O'Reilly's latest book, focusing on the life of Jesus Christ, is being co-written with his researcher and partner Martin Dugard, and is focused on the events leading up to the crucifixion.
The TV movie will follow the success of History Channel's "The Bible" series, which has achieved remarkable ratings, attracting more than 10 million viewers each Sunday since its premiere on March 3.
The New York Post revealed that CNN President Jeff Zucker had actually bid $2.5 million for the rights to "Killing Jesus," after finding out about the project from award-winning director Ridley Scott, who will be in charge of the screen adaptation.
"This is the big one," O'Reilly told THR of his latest book. "We really like working with Nat Geo and Scott Free because the B.S. component is very small. These guys are right on my wavelength. We get a good screenplay, we shoot it, and we put it on."
Killing Jesus is scheduled to be released in bookstores on Sept. 24, while shooting for the TV feature will begin sometime in the fall.