HERE’S A can’t-miss TV concept: Outcast renegades conflict heartless rulers perplexing to tinge out their leisure uprising. After a despots lethally woe a rebels’ captivating leader, his ragtag supporters find visionary new impulse to allege their office of tellurian rights, care and forgiveness.
Could be a sci-fi/fantasy cult favorite. Maybe a striking chronological actioner. Or a philosophical impression study.
It’s a Bible.
And it’s trending large in TV today, with programmers racing to adapt/explore a book hundreds of years old, still ardently read, widely inspirational, many discussed, mostly controversial. As underline films go insane for remakes, TV taps a broader authorization – one with that scarcely all Americans are informed and that many revere.
On Palm Sunday, no fewer than 6 wire channels spotlighted Bible programs, including NatGeo’s blockbuster instrumentation of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus,” that captivated 3.7 million viewers – a channel’s biggest assembly ever.
On Easter Sunday, NBC launches a 12-week array of post-Christ stories, “A.D.: The Bible Continues.” CNN’s fact-based “Finding Jesus” array concludes that same night, with a Mary Magdalene episode.
Throughout Holy Week, a Spanish-language network Telemundo has damaged assembly annals airing “La Biblia,” a interpretation of History’s strike miniseries “The Bible.”
That’s a “A.D.” predecessor that kick-started a trend by attracting some-more than 100 million viewers sum in 2013. The “Bible” culmination airing that Easter Sunday drew scarcely 12 million alone, besting TV’s top-rated series, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” in head-to-head competition.
Wait, God vs. zombies? And God wins!
God’s male in L.A.
“When something works, everybody wants to do it,” says radio attention viewer Marc Berman of TVMediaInsights.com. “Mark Burnett had a outrageous success, and now it’s unexpected a prohibited ticket.”
“Survivor” writer Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, who starred in CBS’ faith-based complicated play “Touched by an Angel,” pronounce plainly in Hollywood about their Christian faith – and their prolongation company, LightWorkers Media, has done a 3 many elaborate Bible-era dramatizations so far: “The Bible,” “A.D.” and “Dovekeepers.”
Berman records that while TV programmers competence design eremite theme matter to seem dry and dull, it doesn’t have to be. “The proceed they did it – well-written, well-produced, not sitting in Bible category – they valid it can be exciting.”
The integrate serve fueled a hype during TV critics’ Jan press debate by equating “A.D.” to big-time hits from other genres. Burnett called it ” ‘Game of Thrones’ meets a Bible.”
In a commencement . . .
The true have always found ways to interest to television’s mainstream audience. One of TV’s initial superstars, in a medium’s low-budget launch after World War II, was New York Bishop Fulton Sheen. A charismatic orator who gave proto-Oprah Winfrey devout lectures in a prime-time array “Life Is Worth Living” (1951-57), Sheen drew adult to 30 million viewers weekly.
The tumult of a 1960s shortly done pithy sacrament reduction of a TV attraction, while preachers like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell shortly built personal pulpits in syndication and cable. Mainstream broadcasters found success portraying nondenominational faith by illusory lenses in contemporary “crisis” dramas – hence a guardians-from-above in Michael Landon’s “Highway to Heaven” (NBC, 1984-89) and Downey’s “Touched by an Angel” (CBS, 1994-2003).
Today’s productions are some-more sincerely religious, nonetheless mostly daub successful TV genres or broader appeal.
Even on news-driven CNN, “Finding Jesus” savvily employs “history mystery” review elements, scenic re-creations and thespian music. Academic experts pronounce in luscious sound bites (“the meaningful stink of genocide respirating down”).
That proceed has quadrupled CNN’s Sunday-night ratings.
The offshoot of Job
Contemporary settings are large in TV cinema like TV One’s Easter weekend premiere “To Hell and Back,” starring “Ghostbuster” Ernie Hudson.
The story of a inexhaustible male raid by a litany of woes by that he loses everything, nonetheless maintains his faith, “It’s very, really directly formed on a book of Job, and we tell people it is,” says TV One boss Brad Siegel. Yet, this complicated chronicle involves lawsuits and automobile wrecks, so “if we didn’t know a book of Job, it wouldn’t matter,” says Siegel.
The story line orderly covers black-aimed TV One’s 3 pillars of faith, family and community, with a fourth maybe being Hudson’s star power.
Such multipronged interest might explain because a Bible is now being mined so feverishly. In today’s niche-dominated multichannel universe, they still weigh a broad-based entertainment place for all kinds of viewers.