"The Bible" a Labor of Love for Famed Producer, Wife

The five-week, 10-hour TV special was nurtured by "Touched by an Angel" star Roma Downey and husband Mark Burnett. He's the force behind such major TV successes as Survivor and The Voice. They say it has already changed lives.

BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

 

It’s a passion project.

The new 10-hour mini-series The Bible is “a story of enduring love,” says Mark Burnett, producer of TV mega-hits Survivor (CBS), The Voice (NBC), The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), and Shark Tank (ABC). “It’s many, many stories that have endured over thousands of years. It’s how God has used many flawed characters and doesn’t give up on them.”

Roma Downey as Mary in “The Bible”

But the History Channel’s upcoming Easter presentation is also a labor of love, a long-planned first-time co-production by Burnett and his wife Roma Downey – best known for her nine seasons as Touched by an Angel star  Monica.

Their mission? To bring the Bible to generations who may not know the stories told and re-told so many times over the centuries, says Burnett.

For six long, hot, dusty months, the couple shot the docudrama on location in the Sahara Desert with an international cast of over 400 actors.

Premiering Sunday, March 3, the project spans Genesis through Revelation, presenting more than 30 beloved Bible stories from Adam and Eve to John’s Vision of the Apocalypse, from Noah’s Ark through Jesus’ life. The final segment, scheduled for Easter Sunday, includes Christ’s Last Supper, Betrayal, Crucifixion and Resurrection – with Downey playing Mary, the mother of Christ.

“We only had ten hours,” sighs Downey, “and we wished we could have had more and we could have told more. There were two ways to handle it. Either we could go through more stories, but tell them more quickly, or we could tell fewer stories and have an opportunity to go deeper into them – in the hope that we could engage the audience more emotionally with a deeper experience, inviting them to walk in the shoes of these wonderful, historic characters.

“That’s what we ended up doing,” she says. “In 10 hours, we knew we couldn’t do a Bible series and not tell the story of Abraham or Moses or

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