(Photo: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
Roma Downey, co-producer of the hit television miniseries "The Bible," has spoken on the surprise success of her television series at a party celebrating the Emmy Awards show late last week, describing the show's immense success as a "sweet, pleasant surprise."
Downey and her husband, Hollywood producer Mark Burnett, used some of their own finances to produce "The Bible" miniseries for The History Channel in March. The miniseries ended up breaking viewership records and became the most-watched show in U.S. television on its premiere night, as well as the number one cable entertainment telecast for the year at the time of its debut.
While attending an Emmy Award party for The Hollywood Reporter in Hollywood, Calif. last week, Downey told FOX411 that she and her husband took a risk creating "The Bible" that turned out to be a "sweet, pleasant surprise."
"You know that there would be an audience for it, I have to be honest and say the fact that 100 million people turned in was a very sweet, pleasant surprise," Downey told the local Fox station. She added that although Hollywood may seem like an anti-Christian town, she and her husband have encountered several members of the film industry who have thanked them for giving the Christian faith a voice in the television business. "People are reacting to us by stepping up to us with a handshake and saying thank you for making the show and sharing that it has touched their lives. It has brought us together in faith."
Downey and her husband will continue their successful venture into Christian-themed television and filmmaking; the Hollywood power couple announced earlier in September that they had teamed up with 20th Century Fox to release a theatrical film version of the show that will be entitled "Son of God." The movie, slated to be released in 2014, will reportedly take scenes from the miniseries as well as scenes not shown to viewers to make a two-hour biblical story focusing on the resurrection of Jesus.
"What a blessing this is! We are thrilled and feel most encouraged to have a big studio like Fox behind us," Downey told The Christian Post earlier this month. "'Son of God' is a beautiful and powerful movie that sweeps the audience along on an emotional journey. In this movie you get to experience the birth, life and death of Jesus but most importantly you get to experience the resurrection of Jesus. It's a powerful story and it will be very special to be able to see it on the big screen and share it with family and friends," she added.
Although "The Bible" miniseries did not win any Emmy awards at Sunday's event, it did receive three nominations. During its airing, the show garnered an average viewership of 15 million per episode. It also became the most downloaded series on iTunes and became the top-selling DVD miniseries ever in its first week of release in April.
Downey previously starred in the television show "Touched by an Angel," and her husband, Mark Burnett, has made a name for himself as a successful Hollywood producer for such shows as "Survivor," "Shark Tank," and "Celebrity Apprentice." His show "The Voice" earned an Emmy award Sunday for best reality competition series.