Success of 'The Bible' Sparks 'Jesus of Nazareth' Spinoff

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By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter
March 29, 2013|1:31 pm

The immense success of the History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries has led to the decision on behalf of a major Hollywood production company to create a faith-affirming spinoff, "Jesus of Nazareth."

  • the bible Mary Magdalene and Jesus
    (Photo Credit: Joe Alblas)
    Mary Magdalene and Jesus in a scene from The History Channel's "The Bible" on Sunday, March 24, 2013.

"We believe the audience continues to have a hunger for life- and faith-affirming films," Michael Landon Jr., who will be writing and producing "Jesus of Nazareth" along with fellow screenwriter Brian Bird, who worked for five seasons on the hit show "Touched by an Angel," 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.

The "Jesus of Nazareth" spinoff will reportedly be a six-hour, $20 million miniseries produced by the Motion Picture Corporation of America.

The spinoff's two writers, Landon and Bird, are both self-professed Christians, and they told The Hollywood Reporter that this new spinoff will be angled toward skeptics of Christianity, rather than believers, in the hopes of educating them on the teachings of the bible.

"['Jesus of Nazareth'] will be traditional in the sense we're going to stay true to the Gospel, but it won't be traditional in the sense that our version is actually going to be made for the skeptic, not the believer," Landon told The Hollywood Reporter.

"The Bible" miniseries has become the talk of Hollywood since it premiered on March 3, as it has received record-breaking ratings, thus revealing that perhaps America's viewership is craving more faith-inspired programming.

Since its premiere, "The Bible," which was produced by Mark Burnett of "Survivor" and Roma Downey of "Touched by an Angel," has received over 10 million viewers each new episode, thus making it the most watched television program on Sunday nights.

Phil Cooke, a media consultant focused primarily on the Christian market and founder of Cooke Pictures, previously told The Christian Post that many leaders in the film and television businesses understand that America wants to see more Christian-themed shows.

"There's no question that decision makers in Hollywood and the media business are getting the message … It's simply good business to respect that audience, and I think the vast majority of media leaders I encounter totally get that," Cooke told CP.

The theme of Christianity is not only hitting the television outlet but also the movie business.

In 2014, a revamp of the movie "Left Behind," which tells the story of the Rapture among other biblical themes, will be released.

"Left Behind" will star Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray and Ashley Tisdale.

"The Bible" wraps up its 10-part miniseries this Easter Sunday, March 31, with a two-hour episode featuring the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

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