NBC has announced it will team up with producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for the follow-up to their popular cable mini-series, "The Bible." The new initiative, "A.D.: Beyond the Bible," will focus on the story of Jesus' betrayal and death, and the aftermath that ensues, according to NBC.
Although the story line is in the early stages of development, executives anticipate the new show will be a major hit.
"I followed the development process of 'The Bible' closely with Mark and knew that the story was far from over after Christ's Crucifixion. In fact, what happened in the aftermath – which is essentially the beginning of Christianity – is utterly fascinating," said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a statement.
"The day after 'The Bible' premiered, I told Mark we were on board with no hesitation for the follow-up miniseries. This will be attention-getting in every way, and we're proud to continue our association with Mark which has just grown exponentially from 'The Voice,'" he added.
In addition to tracing the beginning of Christianity, the show's main plot will also highlight the Holy Land, fueled by social injustice, Roman military oppression and religious unrest. In their statement, NBC added that the mini-series will showcase Jesus' disciples and the challenges they face as well.
Burnett, who is also the producer of "The Voice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice," and his wife, Downey, said their new project will take a considerable amount of work and dedication before it hits airwaves.
"Our new series, A.D.: BEYOND THE BIBLE, is another massive project and a major commitment, but it's a story that has to be told. It's a story that changed the world. We look forward to making this an enormous television event on NBC," they both said in a statement.
Prior to taking on their new workload, their initial mini-series, "The Bible," which aired on the History Channel in March, was the #1 new cable show of 2013. Its premiere was viewed by 13 million people and its finale attracted 11.7 million, both enormous numbers for cable television. In addition, the series sold 1 million DVD and Blu-Ray units within three months of entering the market.
Following "The Bible's" major success, the sequel "A.D.: Beyond the Bible" was highly desired among other television networks.
"There was huge interest in this project within the television community and NBC is gratified by Mark's confidence in our ability to partner with him and position this miniseries as true event television," said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC entertainment, in a statement.
The highly-anticipated sequel will have as its executive producers Burnett, Downey and Richard Bedser, and will be a co-production between LightWorkers Media, Hearst Productions and Universal Television. There is no word yet on when the mini-series will premiere.