Success of 'The Bible' Makes History Channel Top Cable Network

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  • peter the bible
    (Photo: Joe Alblas)
    Jesus appears to Peter after the Resurrection in The History Channel's "The Bible" on Sunday, March 31, 2013.
By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
April 2, 2013|1:32 pm

Mark Burnett's "The Bible" miniseries concluded this past Sunday with strong ratings, attracting 11.7 million viewers, 14 percent higher than its previous week of 10.3 million viewers.

"The Bible" miniseries' great success resulted in the History Channel being the top cable network, both in total viewership and with adults ages 25 to 54, for the month of March.

The episode's finale, which featured Jesus' crucifixion, death, and resurrection aptly on March 31, Easter Sunday, received 3.8 million viewers among adults ages 18 to 49 and 4.6 million viewers among adults ages 25 to 54, according to Nielsen ratings.

As Deadline Hollywood points out, these figures represent a 12 percent and 18 percent rise from last week's numbers, and they also near the miniseries' premiere episode, which had record breaking ratings numbering over 13 million.

According to USA Today, the second half of Sunday's two-hour "The Bible" finale, which featured the resurrection of Jesus, resulted in a slight jump in ratings, temporarily boosting them from 11.7 million to 12.33 million during the last 60 minutes of the program.

ABC's airing of the classic 1956 film "The Ten Commandments," starring actor Charlton Heston, also managed to wrangle in 6 million viewers on Saturday evening.

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Hollywood producers are reportedly responding to America's interest in faith-themed programs.

The Motion Picture Corporation of America is reportedly producing a $20 million, six-hour miniseries serving as a spinoff of "The Bible," titled "Jesus of Nazareth."

"We believe the audience continues to have a hunger for life- and faith-affirming films," Michael Landon Jr., a Christian producer and writer for "Jesus of Nazareth," told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview.

"The monumental success of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's 'The Bible' just underscores that," Landon added.

"Jesus of Nazareth" will also be co-written by screenwriter Brian Bird, who worked for five seasons on the hit show "Touched by an Angel."

"The Bible," which was produced by Mark Burnett of "Survivor" and wife Roma Downey of "Touched by an Angel," first broke television program records on March 3, when it attracted over 13 million viewers, thus making it the number one scripted program on television for Sunday night, as well as the most watched entertainment television show for 2013.

 

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