The Bible Beats Out Walking Dead to be Most-Watched Show Sunday Night.
by Natalie Fertig
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey did what The Walking Dead’s entire cast has yet to do after three and a half seasons – they killed the zombies.
Burnett and Downey’s new miniseries, “The Bible,” which premiered Sunday night on the History Channel, raked in a whopping 14.8 million viewers, scorching past Sunday night regulars “The Walking Dead,” “Once Upon a Time,” and “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Over two telecasts on premiere night, “The Bible” averaged 14.8 million viewers, including five million adults ages 18-49 and 5.6 million adults ages 25-54. Zap2it.com reported that no network show made it past 2.0 million in the coveted 18-49 range, while “The Bible” surpassed 5 million.
Leading into the “The Bible” premiere, history.com had more traffic than any day in the history of the website. “The Bible” also was the top-trending topic on twitter, with celebrities and influencers tweeting their own personal tune-in messages.
Stories have been pouring in of many churches across America holding congregational screenings, which means that the actual number of physical viewers could very well be significantly higher. There’s no denying that “The Bible” was a smashing success.
Movieguide® TV sat down and talked with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey in their home a few weeks ago, and came out of the meeting very excited about “The Bible.” Both Burnett and Downey expressed a desire to show the epic scale of the Bible, and the immense love God has for mankind. Above all, they wanted to tell this story to the best of their ability, with the incredible resources God has given them. As Monday morning dawned, there wasn’t any question left about the success of their dream.
Shooting on site in Morocco, the team of “The Bible” created the Red Sea out of arid desert, undertook epic chariot battles, and revisited ancient Egypt. Burnett, a respected TV producer best known for “Survivor” and “Shark Tank,” and Downey, the star of “Touched by an Angel,” brought their years of Hollywood expertise to “The Bible,” and it shows.
For years, Movieguide® has argued that TV viewers and moviegoers want to see faith-based programs and movies.
Last night, Hollywood realized that yes, there IS a market for well-made Christian-based film and television. Christians typically focus on the message of the film, but when that message is combined with a well-executed script, high production values, and a heart-melting score, the outcome can be nothing short of, well, 14.8 million.