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Good News...And a Challenge PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:40
arbuckle_smMark Burnett is working a miracle. At least for network television.
The producer of “Survivor” and “The Voice” will lauch a brand-new TV series on Easter Sunday 2015. “A.D. - The Bible Continues” will tell the story of the Early Church, from Christ's resurrection to Cornelius' conversion. The series will air Sunday nights on NBC. “This is broadcast TV.” Burnett says. “Not cable. Not narrowcasting.”
Burnett is excited about broadcast television – not just because of his string of successful reality TV shows – but because of its audience. In 2013, Mark Burnette and his wife Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) co-produced “The Bible” - a mini-series that played to an audience of 10 million people on the History Channel. But that was cable. Narrowcasting. On broadcast television, that number could grow. And Burnett is committed to making sure people know about it. “We're going Super Bowl-level to promote this.”
I had the opportunity recently to attend a pre-screening of the first episode of A.D. (Full disclosure: I attended as a representative for Outreach, Inc. Outreach is an official partner to A.D., however, this article does not refer to Outreach's participation.) During the event, both Mark Burnett and Roma Downey spoke about the biblical emphasis of the series, and discussed why they think it will be a success. “This is a story as broad as the nightly news. As broad as the NFL.” Burnett told his audience. He explained that each episode is based on a story from the first ten chapters of the Book of Acts, and that the episodes combine Scripture and history. “We stayed accurate to Acts,” he says, “And the Works of Josephus.” Bible scholars and Christian leaders also combed through the scripts to make sure that each week's story kept to the truth of the story. But he stresses that some creative license was taken to help tell the story for those who may have never heard the Bible. “You'll see nuances that general audiences won't.” It's up to Christian churches, he says, to follow up and teach people the whole story. “Our goal is to funnel them in to churches. You can teach them the finer points.”
And that is, perhaps the miracle of A.D. Not that a TV producer is willing to stick to the script of the Bible, but that the Bible is being broadcast on national television. It's up to Christians, churches, and Christian media to seize this opportunity. “This is a big shift in our culture.” Burnett challenges his audience, “the door is opened.”
The A.D. Series will begin Sunday evening, April 5 on NBC, and will run for twelve weeks, wrapping up on Father's Day. The series is a quality production – both in storytelling and filming. The characters are believable. It is a powerful presentation of the Scriptures and is emotional and engaging. This is a great opportunity to reach our nation for Christ. I hope that you and your station will seize this chance and connect your listeners to this event and to the Greater Story behind this television production.
 

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