The History Channel earns huge ratings with 'The Bible'

14.8 million watch first night

  • Behind-the-Scenes; Mark Burnett and Roma Downey with the cast and crew on set at the Ouarzazate Museum location.
Behind-the-Scenes; Mark Burnett and Roma Downey with the cast… (Joe Alblas / History Channel )
March 05, 2013|By David Zurawik | The Baltimore Sun

The networks might be struggling on Sunday nights but not basic cable's the History Channel. The miniseries beat everything in sight Sunday night with record ratings for "The Bible."

I think this quote from executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett might be a little over the top: "Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people -- Moses and Abraham -- in one day than ever before," Downey and Burnett are quoted as saying in a History Channel statement.  

Still, you have to be impressed by the numbers.

Here's the release:

Over two telecasts on premiere night, THE BIBLE averaged 14.8 million viewers, 5 million Adults 18-49 and 5.6 million Adults 25-54. In the 8-10pm premiere 13.1 million total viewers flocked to THE BIBLE, including 4.6 million Adults 25-54. THE BIBLE is the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year. Leading into the premiere HISTORY.com had it best day ever in its history, and THE BIBLE trended as #1 on Twitter with celebrities and influencers tweeting their own personal tune-in messages.

Says Nancy Dubuc, President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks, “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. We are the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year to date! Leading into the premiere we had the best day ever on History.com, and THE BIBLE trended #1 on Twitter. Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment. We launched an incredible and coordinated campaign - HISTORY worked hand in hand with Roma and Mark and their talented team. 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.”
 
“We could not be more thrilled with this out of the gate success of THE BIBLE on HISTORY,” said Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.  "The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series. This #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.  We have to thank Nancy Dubuc and her HISTORY team for stepping up and joining us on this amazing journey – together we are now able to share this most sacred text that will continue to challenge and inspire.

“Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people - Moses and Abraham - in one day than ever before.  We’ve been working on this project for the past four years now, and are deeply honored to be given this once in a generation opportunity to breathe new visual life into the Bible’s profound stories.  The Bible gives meaning and purpose to billions of people around the world.  We believe the success of the series will spark the curiosity of billions more,” continued Roma and Mark.

THE BIBLE, premiering every Sunday on HISTORY over the next four Sundays, culminating on Easter,  was created and executive produced by renowned producer Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice, Shark Tank) and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel). The series, a landmark television event, combines one of the greatest collections of stories ever assembled with live action and state-of-the-art CGI. The series is narrated by Emmy award-winning actor/vocalist Keith David (Mr & Mrs Smith; Platoon; Crash) and features a musical score by the world renowned Grammy and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. In April, The Bible series will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD with hours of exclusive special features and extras making it a must-own for every home. A book series by Mark and Roma is currently available in stores.

Leading the outstanding international cast is Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress and series’ co-executive producer Roma Downey, who plays Mother Mary. Joining her are Portuguese TV star Diogo Morgado as Jesus, as well as an array of acclaimed UK-based actors including Sean Teale (Skins), David Rintoul (The Iron Lady, My Week with Marilyn), Amber Rose Revah (The Borgias), Peter Guinness (an accomplished long time film/theatre actor), Greg Hicks (one of the UK’s best-known Shakespearean actors), and Simon Kunz (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Parent Trap, Matchpoint).

From Genesis to Revelation, HISTORY will illuminate the Bible, re-telling the stories as they unfold and revealing new insights into these iconic characters in context of the Bible. The series will feature some of the most famous stories ever written from Noah’s Ark and the Exodus to Daniel in the Lion’s Den to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

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