NBC has given a formal green light to 12-hour miniseries A.D., Mark Burnett and Roma Downey‘s follow-up to their highly rated miniseries The Bible that aired on History earlier this year. The project, produced by LightWorkers Media with Burnett, Downey and Richard Bedser serving as executive producers, is eyeing a premiere in spring 2015. “Last year when Mark Burnett was launching The Bible on cable, I told him, without hesitation, that if he wanted to tell more of the story, we’d love to do it at NBC,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt. “We are firmly in the ‘event’ business and nothing has more event potential than A.D. as it continues immediately after the The Bible ended.” The order for A.D., which will be written by BAFTA nominee Simon Block (The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall), comes a week after NBC greenlighted its first miniseries under the network’s current longfprm push – the four-hour Rosemary’s Baby. This also marks the second miniseries order for Burnett and Downey in the past week after CBS picked up The Dovekeepers, which also has religious overtones.
“You might think the story is over at the Crucifixion, but as most of the world knows, that was only the beginning,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “Everyone’s lives were completely altered in an instant and the immediate aftermath of Christ’s death had an impact on his disciples, his mother Mary, and key political and religious leaders of the time. In the first episode alone you see the last moments of the Crucifixion, Judas taking his own life after betraying Christ, Peter denying Jesus three times, and then the miracle of the Resurrection.”
For its March 3 premiere on History in Live+Same Day viewing, The Bible drew 13.1 million viewers. The final episode of the 10-part series, which aired on Easter Sunday, drew 11.7 million and beat The Walking Dead in the 9 PM hour. When including Live+7 figures, The Bible averaged 13.2 million viewers and was the third-most-watched cable TV series or miniseries in 2013. Immediately following its airings, The Bible DVD sold 525,000 units in its first week, the fastest-selling home video release in the past five years. It’s also the top miniseries DVD seller of all-time in the first week of release. Additionally, Downey and Burnett are working on Son Of God, the feature film version of the mini that Fox releases February 28.
Related: Hot Trailer: Fox’s ‘Son Of God’