History Channel’s two-hour cable network premiere of The Bible delivered heavenly ratings on Sunday night, beating out all of the major broadcast shows. The miniseries was watched by 13.1 million viewers and scored a rating of 3.3 among adults 18-49. This is a major success for the network, who can now boast that they have aired cable’s most-watched entertainment telecast of the year (so far…).
A&E Networks president Nancy Dubuc was thrilled with the success of the premiere and the attention it will bring to the network. “The success of The Bible has catapulted History into one of the most powerful brands across media landscape and we could not be more thrilled and more proud. Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment … An enormous debt of gratitude goes out to everyone and the amazing effort put forth to drive us to this amazing win. Clearly the passion for this project has resonated with our viewers and across the nation. We are thrilled, and the story is only just beginning.”
Executive produced by Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice’s Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey, The Bible is a 10-hour live action miniseries made to tackle “Bible illiteracy” among youth. “In school, you have to know a certain amount of Shakespeare, but no Bible,” Burnett said. “So there’s got to be a way to look at it from a pure literature point of view. If it wasn’t for the Bible, arguably Shakespeare wouldn’t have written those stories.” Burnett predicts that once home video and international sales are figured in, that The Bible will be seen by more viewers “than any of our other series combined over the next three decades.”
“We could not be more thrilled with this out of the gate success,” said Downey and Burnett in a statement. “The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series. This No. 1 series is a tribute to all those who have helped us to spread the Word. Ultimately The Bible will be seen and felt by billions around the globe …Today, more people are discussing God’s chosen people — Moses and Abraham — in one day than ever before.”