Ratings for "The Bible"? Heavenly.
The History Channel's miniseries bowed last Sunday night and led all shows in ratings; the premiere of the miniseries is the top cable entertainment telecast of 2013 so far, with more than 27 million total viewers. (The 8-10 PM initial airing drew 13.1 million total viewers -- 4.6 million of them in that sweet 25-54 range.)
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"The Bible" performed well for the network's online properties as well, as History.com had its best day ever, and the series topped Twitter's trending topics in the lead-up to its debut, with celebrities also tweeting about it.
Nancy Dubuc, President of Entertainment and Media for A&E Networks, commented, "Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment," and that's no surprise, given that the Bible itself is the best-selling book of all time -- and given the pedigree of the executive producers of "The Bible." Mark Burnett, of course, is the brains behind veritable TV institutions like "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," and his wife and co-producer, Roma Downey, is one of the series' only name stars. (Actor and voice-over artist Keith David narrates; Academy-Award winner Hans Zimmer is handling the score.)
Dubuc also credited the efforts of Burnett and Downey's "team" for the premiere's success, and it sounds like they've gone 360 in their attempts to get "The Bible" onto everyone's mind. The release of "The Bible" on DVD and Blu-Ray is set for April, and Burnett and Downey's tie-in book is already in stores.
The power couple is thrilled that the project, which they've worked on for four years now, is doing so well, calling its success "a tribute to all those who have helped us spread the Word." (Caps theirs.)
Ratings going forward may tell the same tale -- or, as "The Bible" moves away from some of the better-known narratives in Genesis (and/or the novelty wears off), the numbers may start to seem more lion's den than miracle. New episodes air each of the next four Sundays, up through Easter; "The Bible" will take audiences up through the Book of Revelation, and we're interested to see how CGI is going to cover that series of prophecies.
Did you watch the top-rated premiere? Will you tune back in for more Biblical inspiration? Give us your take on the series, and the numbers, in the comments.
Downey and Burnett talk "The Bible" with Bill O'Reilly here:
"The Bible" airs Sundays at 8 PM on The History Channel.