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'A.D. The Bible Continues' Cancelled by NBC, But May Return to Online Network Service in 2016

( [email protected] ) Jul 07, 2015 07:52 PM EDT
While A.D. The Bible Continues has been pulled from NBC after just one season, the show may make a return online via a network built around faith-based programming.
Scenes from 'A.D. The Bible Continues' episode 2. NBC

While A.D. The Bible Continues has been pulled from NBC after just one season, the show may return for a second season via an online network built around faith-based programming.

Back in 2013, husband-and-wife producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett shocked Hollywood with the success of their 10 hour miniseries, The Bible, which featured the life of Christ leading up to His resurrection. In turn, the couple produced A.D. The Bible Continues, which began where The Bible left off, exploring the early years of the new Christian church as documented in the book of Acts and by historians from the period

While the show drew an impressive 9.5 million viewers on its Easter Sunday premiere, the numbers steadily dropped throughout the season, which concluded on June 21.

"Subsequent weeks saw those numbers drop somewhat, and by the time the twelfth and final episode aired in the latter half of June, the number of live and same day numbers had dropped to 3.5 million total viewers," writes Cinema Blend's Jessica Rawden. "It's not uncommon for shows to lose viewers as a season wears on, but the drop was enough for NBC officials to decide it was better to cancel A.D. The Bible Continues rather than attempt to slog through a second season with low ratings."

However, Variety reports this may not be the true end of the A.D. The news source reported that Downey and Burnett have "been toying with the idea of creating an online channel for faith-based programming for a while." The outlet reveals that now that the duo's partnership with NBC has ended, the two producers reportedly want to buy back the rights to A.D. The Bible Continues and use the show to launch the online channel.  

"The numbers were too soft for a renewal on NBC," reported Cynthia Littleton, managing editor at Variety, last Friday.

"But now that the 'A.D.' moniker is established with a devoted cadre of viewers, Burnett and Downey see it as a perfect tentpole for the launch of the OTT channel they have been working on since partnering with MGM to form United Artists Media Group last fall."

If Downey and Burnett are successful, the channel is expected to become available in 2016 or 2017.

While the actors have been released from their contracts and are free to sign on for projects elsewhere in light of the show's cancellation, there may be more work in the A.D. realm down the line.  

In an earlier interview with the Gospel Herald, Chipo Chung, who starred as Mary Magdalene throughout the season, expressed a desire to appear in a second season of the show should it be renewed.

"I really hope we get a second season, I love the show," she told the GH. "Every time I watch it I think it gets better and better. The form fascinates me--the balance between directives from the Bible, interpretation from the Bible, and then what is created around the Bible to give it drama. I think the writers do a really good job with that, and the balance gets better with every episode."