History Channel Prepares ‘The Bible’ Miniseries From ‘Survivor’ Producer

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 10:01 pm,

charleton heston ten commandments history channel the bible History Channel Prepares The Bible Miniseries From Survivor Producer

Lord have mercy – History Channel is bringing the Bible back. The cable network has ordered The Bible from Survivor producer Mark Burnett.

Burnett has had a string of reality TV victories since Survivor, including The Apprentice and The Contender. He’s also well known as a producer for live award events, like The People’s Choice Awards and the MTV Movie Awards. He’s had his fair share of busts, too – Sarah Palin’s Alaska quickly bombed on TLC, and other reality originals and spinoffs have failed to find an audience.

Lately, Burnett has produced NBC’s surprise hit The Voice and ABC’s Shark Tank, recently reviewed for its third season. He continues to produce Survivor, now in its 22nd season. Yes, really.

History Channel isn’t the first to try the formidable task of cramming thousands of pages of religious text and hundreds of years of Jewish and Christian history into a single epic. Way back in 1966, 20th Century Fox distributed The Bible: In The Beginning. Part of a larger trend in religious-themed epics (including The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston), the film was intended to be the first in a series. It chronicled the Genesis stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and Abraham. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the building of the Tower of Babel were also included.

Unlike other religious and generally historical epic movies, The Bible: In The Beginning was not well-received, and none of the planned sequels were made. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, many biblical movie adaptations were made by American and Italian studios, with varying degrees of success and accuracy. Biblical epics largely fell out of favor until 2004, when The Passion of the Christ (starring Person of Interest‘s James Caviezel) made over six hundred million dollars.

Compressing The Bible into the allotted ten-hour miniseries won’t be an easy task. Like In The Beginning, the producers and writers will likely split up the narrative into major stories. Just as an educated guess at the ten part split: 1) Adam and Eve and Noah, 2) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, 3) Moses and The Exodus, 4) the foundation of Israel, 5) Kings Saul, David and Solomon, 6) the destruction of Israel and Judah, 7) a few short stories on the major and minor prophets, 8 ) Jesus’ birth, 9) his death and resurrection, 10) an episode dedicated to the book of Revelations.

passion of the christ jim caviezel History Channel Prepares The Bible Miniseries From Survivor Producer

The bigger question is whether Burnett can handle a big-budget scripted series. With an almost exclusively reality TV resume, he seems like an odd choice to revive the type of storytelling that is relatively ancient for modern filmmakers. Considering his history with low-budget, spontaneous television, Burnett would seem to be the least likely candidate for the project.

History would do well to watch out for the the inevitable controversy, too: their high-profile miniseries The Kennedys met with disapproval from liberal Americans, and was denied on every major cable TV network. Reelz Channel finally aired the series in the US.

The Bible is scheduled for a 2013 debut.


Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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29 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. Unfortunately the History Channel is known to not be Factually correct in a lot of their programs. Take for example the Howard Zinn take on America that was filled with massive amounts of Hersey and innuendo and not much Historical Fact. It was pure propaganda. lets home they give a factual rendition of the Bible.

    • sort of like a “factual rendition” of Harry Potter?

      • that’s just rude. whether the bible is fact or not is irrelevant. it should be given respect. maybe faithful adaptation would be a better term to use than “factual rendition”.
        no one wants to see harry potter butchered from it’s original story and intentions and that’s not a book people have put their whole lives and faith into. the people who believe the bible deserve to not be made fun of anymore than anyone of any other religion.

        • Respect is earned. I’m not sure why the Bible “deserves” respect.

          • Derek,

            Then perhaps you should do a bit of reading about it on other than athiest websites. Heck, look it up on Wikipedia.


            • The Bible shouldn’t be thought of as a factual record of history, any more than Greek mythology or Norse mythology ought to be be, but that doesn’t really matter, because there’s still a lot of great material in there that can be adapted to great effect. I think that there’s likely very little truth to the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, but that doesn’t stop The Ten Commandments from being an absolutely excellent fantasy film and one of my favorite movies ever.

              I know a lot of people want modern film adaptations of mythology to be more true to the source material, and to a certain extent, I sympathize. Many modern adaptations simply waste a lot of good story material that could have made for an even better adaptation. But I have nothing against the idea of improving on old myths and adding to them, considering that each myth has already gone through a long process of modification as it was told and re-told, or even combined with other myths. One could say that by not staying 100% true to the existing source material that we’re actually just following in the tradition of myth-tellers who came before us. Now, if we were adapting history and claiming that our adaptation was historically accurate, then that’s another story. But this is mythology.

  2. I am definitely interested in this. I would actually love to see more disinterested third parties exploring the history of the bible and artifacts that are related to the bible. Partiality comes into play too much when it comes to studying the bible. Truth and opinion get mixed unfortunately

  3. In light its groundless trashing and dropping of The Kennedys and their
    exposed sensibilities the History Channel can hardly be trusted with this material
    and it would not be opposed to presenting it as a collection of simple-minded fairy tales.

  4. I’ve met Burnett. He wasn’t someone I’d wanna hang out with or say seemed like a good, stand up guy. So I have no faith that anything he do will have any integrity.

  5. If they are wanting financial success with this new project, then they should take note of the fact that the movie The Passion of the Christ treated its subject matter and reference material both faithfully and respectfully. Most History Channel programs with Biblical subject matter that I have seen tend to want to undermine the credibility of the Bible.

  6. Cool, I hope they keep the scene where God sends bears to maul little kids.

    • The word used in the Bible for little chnildren is denoting Teens to College Age youth. Youth that ganging up on a prophet of God could have done him harm…thus God’s actions in sending the bears was more than justified.

      • Justified? Really. Teenagers who make fun of a dude’s bald head deserve to be mauled?

        • Its only the apologists making excuses for the story that say anything about teenagers.

          • The word translated “children” was also used to describe young men under David’s command.
            Then there were enough that forty two could be mauled.
            The average village of a hundred wouldn’t have that many children roaming around.
            The interpretation that they were a gang of young men seems to fit the available evidence better than the alternative.

            • Uhhh. . . totally missing the point. He was bald! Making fun of someone isn’t payable by being MAULED!

      • Yeah, that’s a pretty cool story. How about the one where God destroys the entire population of the planet, save 8 people, for their wickedness? I’m looking forward to seeing all that epic genocide in the conquest of Canaan. Like that story in Numbers 31 where Moses orders his people to kill all the captive women and children, except for virgin girls, who are taken as slaves. /sarcasm

        But seriously, fiction or not, the Bible has some great stories. I have no idea whether there’s any truth to the story of Moses. I’m an atheist, so I doubt it. But it made for one heck of a good movie with Charlton Heston. I think a great Samson movie still needs to be made. In fact, I wouldn’t mind writing/directing such a movie. Imagine it. 1000 Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone! I’d love to see that on the big screen.

        I really do think it would be interesting to have a Biblical adaptation that doesn’t sugar-coat it for modern audiences, but instead portrays the Old Testament God as the Bible portrays him: as a tribal god for a war-like, male-dominated society.

  7. It’s interesting to see the History Channel deciding to dip its feet into sci-fi and fantasy.

    • And propaganda.

  8. Odd choices seem to turn out to be inspired choices a lot of times.

    I think they’re primarily thinking of Burnett’s beautiful cinematography work. If there’s one thing that will always bring in an audience, it’s the visuals.

  9. Adam and Eve? Do a search: First Scandal.

  10. Wow, I’m not sure whether or not to be excited about this. If its anything like the Passion of the Christ, it should be amazing, but with a secular producer… Anyways, I agree that those “episodes” at the top could work but that would definitely be cutting out a ton. To make it accurate, you would need it to be at least the length of all six seasons of lost and with a massive cast. I guess we will see in 2013 because the world will still be around. (Howard Shore would be a great composer if they can get the story right).

  11. I am glad I live in a country where everyone is free to express their religious freedom in any form they choose. Even if that choice is to blast the very religious foundation of our country.

    Try doing that in the middle east with the Koran and see how funny your comments become.

    • Amen to that!

      • And God bless the many men and women who have defended that freedom; some, with their very lives.

    • Too true. America’s freedoms are taken for granted.
      It has taken blood to defend them as Kahless reminds.

    • “I am glad I live in a country where everyone is free to express their religious freedom in any form they choose.”

      You’ve been led to believe this is true. It is not.

      • baaaaaaaaaaahahahaha. I died!