UPDATE, 10:15 AM: History and The Bible executive producers, husband and wife Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, just addressed the Obama-Satan controversy. “History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the network said in a statement. “The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”

Burnett and Downey used stronger language in dismissing the connection, suggesting that the actor playing the Devil may have been simply type cast. “This is utter nonsense,” they said. “The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.” Added Downey: “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”

PREVIOUS 7:15 AM: History’s hit miniseries The Bible had its 3rd installment last night. It’s already been taken to task for its use of beautiful actors in all key roles. Now the project’s casting choice for the role of Satan has come under fire for the apparent resemblance of Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani to President Barack Obama. The topic created a firestorm online, ignited by a slew of tweets about the likeness of The Bible‘s Devil to the 44th President of the United States (conservative firebrand Glenn Beck was among the first to post comment) and side-by-side image comparisons like the one here from the Daily Mail. History is expected to respond to the controversy soon. The Bible, which has been shattering cable ratings records, is History’s third miniseries. The first, The Kennedys, also was surrounded by controversy after the cable network dropped it shortly before airdate, allegedly under pressure from the family of another US President, John F. Kennedy. Followup Hatfields & McCoys went on without a hitch and garnered big ratings as well as a ton of awards.