Under its programming model, Netflix has stayed away from live events. Now the streaming giant is dipping its toe into the space with a deal to become the global distributor of the Tyler Perry-hosted musical special The Passion — which airs live on Fox this Sunday — shortly after its U.S. broadcast.
The Passion will be available on Netflix internationally, outside of the U.S., on March 22 with the exception of the Netherlands, where the concept originated. There, the U.S. special will be available beginning March 25. The Dutch version of The Passion, created by Jacco Doornbos and Eye2Eye Media, has been produced annually since 2011 and has aired for the last five consecutive years, commanding a 46% market share in 2015. There will be another local edition this year.
The deal with Netflix was made by The Passion producer Dick Clark Prods, which is distributing the project internationally.
Hosted and narrated by Perry, The Passion will air live on Fox (on the East Coast) from New Orleans on Palm Sunday, March 20, from 8-10 PM. Set in present day, it tells the 2000-year-old story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth through passages from the Bible and a variety of popular music, sung by the cast and arranged specifically for this event by executive producer and hit music producer Adam Anders (Glee).
Starring in the special are Jencarlos Canela as Jesus Christ, Chris Daughtry as Judas, Prince Royce as Peter, Seal as Pontius Pilate and Trisha Yearwood as Mary, mother of Jesus. Executive producing are Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan and Mark Bracco of DCP as well as Doornbos of Eye2Eye Media, Adam Anders of Anders Media Inc. and David Grifhorst of The Passion: Netherlands. Robert Deaton (CMA Awards) serves as executive producer and showrunner.