NBC’s ‘A.D.’ Picks Up Where ‘The Bible’ Series Left Off
New series brings stories of early Christian Church to network television.
If history is any indication, millions of Americans will be tuning into the premiere of a new television series depicting the early Christian Church this Easter (premieres on Easter Sunday, April 5, at 9/8c on NBC).
A.D.: The Bible Continues is the latest project of the husband-and-wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who succeeded in bringing the stories of the Gospels to cable television in their 2013 series The Bible.
Their new 12-week television series was created to tell the story of the early Christian Church, picking up where The Bible left off.
During a pre-screening in Colorado Springs on March 6, Burnett explained that "lot's of people in mainstream America thought we had lost our minds with The Bible … and we said, 'We think you're underestimating the audience.'"
The veteran producer who is responsible for the success of various television shows knows what audiences want to watch.
"We leveraged our celebrity, money and success and got The Bible on TV," and “100 million Americans watched The Bible!"
They enjoyed creating that project together so much, they realized they didn't want to leave.
"A.D. came from us not wanting to let it end," Burnett admitted.
They had spent six months filming the original miniseries in Morocco and were wrapping up production when they were inspired to create the new project.
“We thought about it and prayed on it,” Burnett reflected. “We thought, 'What a great, dramatic setting of A.D. 33: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection … and then what happened next?'”
The first episode of A.D. jumps right into answering that question, starting with a graphic depiction of the Crucifixion.
"Hats off to NBC, because they didn't ask us to sanitize the crucifixion of Our Lord, and you see that he bled for us," Burnett said.
The series immediately begins tying together the stories of Joseph of Arimathea, the temple priests, the Romans, the apostles, Mother Mary and many of the women of the Bible.
Further episodes will explore stories mostly pulled from the Acts of the Apostles.
While their previous project originally aired on cable through the History channel, they’re proud to be releasing their show on NBC.
“We couldn’t be more excited that it’s on broadcast television,” Downey said.
The husband and wife also don't see this project as a stand-alone series, but hope to produce multiple seasons of the show. Burnett promised they were in negotiations for the second season already.
Ultimately, the series hopes to capitalize on a large and often-neglected market: Christian TV viewers.
Downey expressed the couple's "hope and prayer that families will gather around the TV screen together and tune in and see the story that changed the world."