(Photo: Grace Hill Media)
Months before their television series, "The Bible," premiers on The History Chanel, Hollywood producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, are promoting the miniseries by visiting churches. On Sunday, they stopped by Pastor Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston, Texas.
Burnett, who is the creator of such reality TV shows as "Celebrity Apprentice," "Shark Tank," "Survivor" and "The Voice," and Downey, known for her 10-year role on the TV series "Touched By An Angel," are friends with Lakewood Church pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen.
The couple showed clips from the series at Lakewood's Sunday morning service and presented the Osteens with a 1683 King James Bible, according to Houston Chronicle. Joel and Victoria Osteen visited Downey and Burnett during filming of the series in Morocco.
Last month, Pastor Osteen praised a new promotional video put out by singer-songwriter and rapper Cee Lo Green based on the miniseries and featuring the song "Mary Did You Know." "You'll be inspired by Cee Lo Green's beautiful rendition of 'Mary Did You Know' from the Bible Series," Joel Osteen Ministries wrote on the pastor's official Facebook page, sharing with his more than 2,641,000 million followers a link to the video, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands people on YouTube.
The series premiers on March 3, 2013, on The History Chanel, and will be made available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Married since 2007, the couple thought of making the series based on Scripture about three years ago.
"I've loved Jesus all my life," Downey told The Christian Post last month. "It's a passion project for Mark and myself."
Downey, who apart from being co-producer is playing the part of Mary, the mother of Jesus, explained that casting for "The Bible" would have been impossible without prayer.
"Casting began with prayer," the actress said, noting the challenge and significance of selecting the perfect actor to fill the role of Jesus in the series. We had been scouting locations in Morocco and were 'looking for Jesus,'" she quipped. "Six weeks before filming began, we still didn't have Jesus."
Burnett was interviewed in October by best-selling author and pastor Rick Warren for a taped segment shown during a business summit at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.
"I have had great fear, but my fear isn't of the failure of the project. It's looking back later having done nothing. It's a very serious fear. The fear of not making a meaningful contribution, of being insignificant, of looking back [and thinking] that I didn't step up. I am honestly petrified of that, or I was, and my pain of feeling like I let myself down, my family down, and not taking the risk to do it was far greater than the pleasure of being calm," said Burnett.
The World Evangelical Alliance has been running ads in Times Square since before Christmas regarding the miniseries and will continue to do so until March when the series begins.
Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA's CEO and Secretary General, earlier told The Christian Post that the ads were meant to redirect people's attention to the real meaning of Christmas. "The clip is beautiful. It shows the Nativity. It shares the love and hope of the Christmas message. It puts Christ back in Christmas."