Epic Miniseries, THE BIBLE, welcomes Jesus as focus shifts to the New Testament


Diogo Morgado plays Jesus in The History Channel’s miniseries, THE BIBLE

More than 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada have watched the first two installments of the epic miniseries THE BIBLE – and the excitement continues to build for TV’s hottest show with this Sunday’s arrival of Jesus and the stories of the New Testament.

Adding the ratings of repeat airings to the series’ Sunday night premieres on HISTORY, the overall numbers certainly justify the terms like “blockbuster” and “a hit of biblical proportions” the media have used to describe the 10-hour, five-part dramatization of stories from Scripture.

And the best-known of those stories, featuring the most-beloved figure in the Bible, don’t even begin airing until this week.

“Jesus is coming!” co-executive producer Roma Downey said. ““He’s the ‘leading man’ of the Bible’s grand story of God’s love for us, and he makes his entrance this week.

“It’s been a wondrous journey through the tales of God’s faithfulness to His people in the Old Testament – and we’ve got some more of that this week in our first hour, including the story of Daniel, she added. “And then it’s on to the birth, ministry, teachings, betrayal, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ for the next three weeks.”

Mark Burnett, Downey’s husband and co-executive producer, said viewers will be treated to the same kind of spectacle they’ve enjoyed thus far as THE BIBLE shifts its focus to New Testament stories.

“Jesus walking on water, feeding the 5,000, healing the leper, casting out demons and the painful power of the Crucifixion are all moments we’ve sought to bring to life with reverence and fresh visual impact,” he said. “At the same time, as evocative as we tried to make the entire series, there’s an added, deeper emotional connection in the life of Jesus, and we hope we we’ve been able to transfer that from Scripture to screen.”

The portrayal of Jesus by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado is both tough and tender, Downey explained – exactly as Jesus is depicted in the Bible.

“Diogo is both the Lion and the Lamb, strong when it’s called for and sensitive when it’s called for,” she said. “I really can’t think of any other actor who’s brought such a commanding yet compassionate presence to the part.”

As for the series’ record ratings, Burnett said it’s further evidence that audiences are hungry for family-friendly entertainment.

“Our goal as makers of television shows is to produce quality programs families can enjoy together,” said the producer of hits like SURVIVOR, THE VOICE, THE APPRENTICE and SHARK TANK. “We’ve said all along THE BIBLE has been a passion project for us – and that’s one of the reasons why: Parents and children can share the experience of these incredible stories coming to life before their eyes.”