(Courtesy photo) Jesus (Diogo Morgado) is greeted by his followers in “The Bible.”
<!-- GET HEADLINE --><!-- GET DECK --><!-- GET BYLINE --><!-- PRIORITY CHECK -->‘Bible’ debut draws biggest audience of year on History
By Andy Fixmer and Michael White
| Bloomberg News
First Published Mar 05 2013 10:52 am • Last Updated Mar 05 2013 04:42 pm
<!-- FileInclude:Normal, /csp/cms/sites/sltrib/assets/includes/ppphacks.csp --><!--/FileInclude:Normal, /csp/cms/sites/sltrib/assets/includes/ppphacks.csp, took .000137 --><!-- PAGING DATA :: ppp: firstname.lastname@example.org.CachedRS startParagraph: 1 endParagraph: 17 storyParagraphs: 17--><!-- Counter 0-->"The Bible," the History channel miniseries by "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett, drew the network’s biggest audience of the year in its premiere after a months-long campaign to promote the show to Christian audiences.
<!-- Counter 1-->The first of five two-hour episodes drew 13.1 million viewers, New York-based History said yesterday in a statement. Last year’s premiere of "Hatfields & McCoys," with 13.9 million, was the network’s most-watched program ever. History is part of A&E Television Networks LLC, owned jointly by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp.
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<!--/FileInclude:Normal, /csp/cms/sites/sltrib/assets/includes/fullstory3info.csp, took .013705 -->Burnett, an avowed Christian, and his wife, "Touched by an Angel" star Roma Downey, shot the series over six months in Morocco and enlisted pastors Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, to connect with Christian audiences. The, strategy pioneered by Mel Gibson with his theatrical film "The Passion of the Christ," culminated with a presentation to 500 clergy on March 2.
<!-- Counter 3-->"We believe our Bible series has the potential to reach not only those who already go to church but could reach a whole new generation of people who have never been to church," Burnett said in a video posted on Google Inc.’s YouTube. "People that may never have read the Bible will get to see those Bible stories in this series."
<!-- Counter 4-->To promote the series, Burnett reached out to Protestant and Roman Catholic church leaders, touting the project as a teaching aid for use in sermons and weekly study groups. Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" cost $30 million and generated $612 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
<!-- Counter 5-->Smaller faith-affirming films, such as "Fireproof" have also successfully based marketing on outreach to churches, said Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, a group that advises studios.
<!-- Counter 6-->"Fireproof" was made for $500,000 and had sales of $33.5 million. Religious audiences trust a minister’s recommendation more than studio ads or reviews by mainstream critics, he said.
<!-- Counter 7-->"The market exists. You’ve just got to reach them through the venues that they are using," Baehr said. "You have to get to what they watch and where they go."
<!-- Counter 8-->At the March 2 meeting, Warren, head of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, told the audience of about 500 he would shape his next five Sunday sermons around the series. He urged clergy, including others watching a webcast of the event, to do the same.
<!-- Counter 9-->"Don’t miss this opportunity," Warren said. "This is a wave. Part of leadership is catching the wave. God is about to do something really great."
I watched a re-run of the debut from last Sunday, and it was amazing !
It is just at the beginning with Abraham and Moses.
The scene where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son was very touching and the special effects when God parts the Red sea for Moses and the Israelites is years ahead of the classic we saw in Charlton Heston's 'Ten Commandments'.
This is becoming the most talked about TV show ahead of American Idol this week.
I do recommend that you watch it and follow the 'greatest story ever told'
Funny enough, my kids were asking WHY Abraham was chosen by God, and why God spoke to Abraham ?
Along with how the film went, I enjoyed clarifying that Abraham was different to all the others since he knew there was only ONE God.
The people of that time were worshipping all sorts of stones, plants, stars..etc.. and having numerous different worship figures!
But, Abraham was different which is why he was chosen to go and start a new generation of descendents in the promised land.
These people would then have the correct belief in the ONE God.
In a very similar way,there are some striking similarities with sikhisms Guru Nanak Dev ji and his belief in only the ONE God along with Abrahams belief.
I'm not sure if they are being broadcast on History channel across the globe at the same times. But they are on every Sunday until the final on Easter Sunday.
I assume that they will be on SKY and satellite in UK and further, but it's worth checking.
More details about the ''The Bible'' series at below link