Fox News Passed on 'The Bible' Miniseries Over Scheduling, Contract Differences

Fox News Channel, owned by Rupert Murdoch, came close to acquiring the rights for the hit miniseries "The Bible," but at the end missed out on the show that went to the History Channel.

The LA Times reported that Murdoch, who is the chairman and chief executive of News Corp., wanted to have "The Bible" air on Fox as soon as producer Mark Burnett mentioned the idea to him. However, the network was unable to find a day in which the show would have fit, with other big-name shows like "American Idol" and "The Following" occupying popular TV nights.

There was talk that the show could have actually played on the Fox News show itself, which the Times noted might have seemed a strange choice among the news and political opinion centered content, but its older and more conservative audience could have appreciated it.

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The option was discussed, but at the end Burnett and his wife, fellow co-producer Roma Downey, wanted to hold onto international rights and have final cut over the miniseries, which proved to be a deal-breaker in the equation.

News Corp., however, did manage to get into the success of the show by securing the rights to distribute DVDs of "The Bible," which have also reached record-breaking numbers. In its first week of release at the beginning of April, "The Bible" sold 525,000 copies, making it the fastest-selling TV title released on DVD in the last five years and the top-selling DVD miniseries ever.

"It's rare that a project comes along that touches millions of people in such an impactful way," said Simon Swart, executive vice president and general manager for Twentieth Century Fox's North America branch.

The History Channel beat out other tough competition for the rights to air the 10-episode series, however, as it was revealed that Discovery's TLC network also wanted the show, but the husband and wife co-producers again didn't budge on international rights.

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