(Photo: Joe Alblas)
New ratings reports indicate that not only did the History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries reach near-record breaking viewership in its final week, it also managed to edge out AMC's "The Walking Dead," a drama series about zombies that is considered to be the miniseries' top competition ratings-wise.
During the second half of the miniseries' two-hour finale, which featured the resurrection of Jesus, "The Bible" received a viewership of 12.32 million viewers, beating out "The Walking Dead," which had ratings of 12.29 million.
As Entertainment Weekly notes, "The Walking Dead" viewership rose slightly to 12.4 million viewers if you count the entire 65 minute telecast.
"It's a strong performance for the religious miniseries that few expected to be a ratings competitor," James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly wrote of the religious-themed miniseries produced by Mark Burnett of "Survivor" fame and his wife, Roma Downey, of "Touched by an Angel."
As Variety points out, Nielsen ratings reveal that both "The Walking Dead" and "The Bible" combined received a 24.5 million person viewership, which topped the ratings of all entertainment telecasts for the "Big Four" television networks, ABC, FOX, CBS, and NBC.
Additionally, as The Christian Post previously reported, the finale of "The Bible" garnered 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.
The great success of "The Bible," along with a select few other shows, such as "Vikings," has caused the History Channel to be the top cable network, both in total viewership and among adults and men ages 25 to 54, for the month of March.
"The Bible" achieved record-breaking ratings when it premiered March 3, scoring a viewership of over 13 million.
In the weeks that followed, the miniseries, which re-tells important biblical events, fell slightly in the ratings, but always maintained a strong number above 10 million each week.
The miniseries' producers, Burnett and Downey, recently told The Wall Street Journal that they see their miniseries as "just the beginning" for something much bigger.
"Last night Roma and I said to ourselves, this is just the beginning," Burnett recently told the Journal, adding that he is planning to dub "The Bible" into Spanish, as well as looking at international distribution sales or the miniseries, among other things.
"This series has a much bigger life […] I see it as this generation's 'Ten Commandments'," Burnett added.