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Sequel to The Bible goes to NBC, with History network left wanting

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Scene from The Bible; producers Roma Downey, Mark Burnett.

Mega-producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, have forsaken the History network and sold their sequel of The Bible to NBC.

The Peacock announced Monday that A.D.: Beyond the Bible will take up where the crucifixion left off. Presumably more than 30 pieces of silver were required to land a continuation of this year’s most-watched miniseries, which averaged more than 11 million viewers for its 10-hour run. It also has sold more than one million DVD units.

NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says in a publicity release that he “knew the story was far from over after Christ’s crucifixion. In fact, what happened in the aftermath -- which is essentially the beginning of Christianity -- is utterly fascinating . . . This will be attention-getting in every way, and we’re proud to continue our association with Mark.”

Burnett already produces The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice and The Sing-Off for NBC. He’s also the architect of CBS’ Survivor and ABC’s Shark Tank.

There’s no air date yet for The Bible’s sequel. NBC says it’s the first project under its “new longform programming initiative.”

All of the broadcast networks are becoming newly gripped with miniseries/Big Event fever after years of little or no interest in a form that produced some of television’s biggest smashes. They include Roots, Shogun, The Thorn Birds and The Winds of War.

Last week, CBS struck ratings gold with Episode 1 of Under the Dome, a 13-part, special effects laden summer attraction that averaged 13.5 million viewers nationally on opening night.

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