'The Bible' series retains strong ratings
"Walking Dead" (11.46 million) finished first among cables shows for the night. Among both broadcast and cable programs, CBS' "60 Minutes" finished first with 11.58 million viewers.
The Bible miniseries debuted with 13.1 million total viewers March 3 to become the No. 1 entertainment telecast on cable so far this year and was the top show that night on either broadcast or cable TV.
More than 50 million cumulative viewers have seen at least a portion of the series since it began, according to a press release.
Media websites have noticed the miniseries' popularity. BusinessWeek.com posted a story with the headline, "How the History Channel Turned 'The Bible' Into a Blockbuster." Time.com and several other websites posted stories calling the miniseries a "hit."
"Those are the kinds of numbers that get TV executives' attention, and 'attention' in the TV business means copying," Time's James Poniewozik wrote. "Last year, History pulled meganumbers with Hatfields and McCoys; now NBC is developing a Hatfields and McCoys series. So I wouldn't be surprised to see more religious epics coming to TV -- stories aimed, like The Bible miniseries, at the comfort zone of believers."
The five-night series will be telecast over the next three Sundays, concluding Easter. Next up is an episode portraying the arrival of Jesus.
Two professing Christians, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, are the executive producers. Downey told the radio program "For Faith & Family" that the "intention of making this series was to glorify God."
The Bible airs Sunday night at 8 p.m. Eastern on History Channel.
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