By Tim Kenneally
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - There will be a sequel to Mark Burnett's successful miniseries "The Bible," but it won't be on the History Channel.
Instead, it's moving from the minors to the majors: Burnett and NBC are forging a holy alliance to bring the sequel to the peacock.
The sequel, which bears the working title "A.D.: Beyond the Bible," follows the enormously popular 10-part miniseries "The Bible," which drew a huge audience to History earlier this year and is a likely Emmy contender.
It should be noted that Burnett executive produces NBC's hit singing competition "The Voice."
The new project begins in the dark days after Jesus' betrayal and death.
"A perfect storm brews in the Holy Land, fueled by social injustice, Roman military oppression and religious unrest," NBC says of the sequel. "High priests and the Herod dynasty vie for power. Zealot revolutionaries turn to violence to regain what they believe is their promised land. And in the face of terrible odds and brutal persecution, the small band of Jesus' disciples stand against the combined might of Rome and their own local authorities.
"In a generation of rebellion, war, famine and carnage, who can they trust? Who should they fear? Will tomorrow bring a violent death? For many, it does … but others survive, and as the storm around them breaks, the fate of Israel, of Rome and of their faith is decided."
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said that plans to bring the sequel to NBC began immediately after the March premiere of "The Bible" on History.
"I followed the development process of ‘The Bible' closely with Mark and knew that the story was far from over after Christ's Crucifixion. In fact, what happened in the aftermath - which is essentially the beginning of Christianity - is utterly fascinating. The day after ‘The Bible' premiered, I told Mark we were on board with no hesitation for the follow-up miniseries," Greenblatt said.
"NBC is thrilled to bring this highly anticipated sequel to Mark and Roma's ‘The Bible' to network television," NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said of the follow-up. "There was huge interest in this project within the television community and NBC is gratified by Mark's confidence in our ability to partner with him and position this miniseries as true event television.
"A.D: Beyond the Bible" will be executive produced by Downey, Burnett and Richard Bedser. It will be a co-production between LightWorkers Media, Hearst Productions and Universal Television.