The Bible, a 10-hour TV miniseries that debuted March 3 on the History Channel, has dominated social media, trending as the No. 1 Twitter topic throughout most of its two-hour premiere.
More than 14.8 million viewers watched the first episode of The Bible, the highest-rated cable show of the year, prompting accolades from numerous media outlets. USA Today noted that "the good book was good news Sunday for History," while the Los Angeles Times observed that "The Bible makes history for History."
Mark Burnett, best known for producing the TV shows Survivor, The Voice and The Apprentice, and his wife, Roma Downey, of Touched by an Angel fame, produced the five-part miniseries of major Bible stories, from Noah's ark and the Exodus to the death and resurrection of Jesus, scheduled to air for five Sundays this month—culminating on Easter, March 31.
"We know God moved," Downey said of the miniseries' debut. "People of all denominations showed the power that can be unleashed in our culture when we band together, individual believers with a shared purpose and vision. The world is won when the church is one."
Burnett added: "This book is alive. Today, more Americans and Canadians are talking about God's chosen people. They're talking more about the faithfulness and perseverance of Noah, Abraham and Moses than any time in recent history."
The Christian products industry has gotten behind The Bible, with chains such as LifeWay Christian Stores promoting the miniseries. On March 12, Word Entertainment will release a musical companion to the project called The Bible: Music Inspired by the Epic Miniseries.
The 12-track album, which highlights themes from the miniseries, features several contemporary Christian artists, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Group 1 Crew, Dara Maclean, Point of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets. Country stars Wynonna Judd and Kenny Rogers also come together on the compilation for a special rendition of "Mary Did You Know?"
"When we heard Francesca Battistelli's rendition of 'In Your Eyes,' we immediately loved it," Burnett said. "All of the artists' music fits beautifully with our vision of The Bible."
FaithWords has released two novels and a devotional based on the miniseries: The Bible: A Story of God and All of Us: A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries; A Story of God and All of Us: Young Readers Edition; and A Story of God and All of Us Reflections: 100 Daily Inspirations Based on the Epic TV Miniseries. All were written by Burnett and Downey. Twentieth Century Fox (Provident Distribution) will release The Bible on DVD and Blu-ray April 2.