Roma Downey will play Mother Mary in History Channel's 'The Bible.'/USA TODAY
Famed television producer Mark Burnett tackles his projects with passion, but The Bible is a special labor of love.
10-hour, five-part docudrama, which premieres March 3 on the History
Channel, will span the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, presenting some
of its best-known stories, including Noah's Ark, the Exodus, Daniel in
the lions' den and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Former Touched By an Angel star
Roma Downey, Burnett's wife and fellow executive producer, heads a
large international cast in the role of Mother Mary. Keith David, an
Emmy winner for voice-over performances, will narrate with a musical
score by Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Hans Zimmer.
"In terms of importance, nothing we've ever done, not Touched By an Angel, not Survivor, not The Voice, not The Apprentice, none of this could possibly compare to The Bible,"
Burnett says. "To us, as a family, we love the Bible. This is not a TV
show to us. It's images and sound and sacred text that people will still
watch, way after our grandchildren are old people."
entire Bible can't be covered in 10 hours, the miniseries, which was
filmed in Morocco, focuses on a select group of stories and features
such compelling figures as Abraham, Moses and David. Some stories had to
be compressed for artistic purposes.
"In the end, what we've done
is a meta-narrative, a grand narrative of emotionally connected
stories. We know we're not qualified to teach the Bible. We're qualified
to be good television producers and storytellers. By telling these
emotionally connected, big stories, hopefully millions of people will
reopen their Bibles," Burnett says.
He hopes the project brings
comfort after the Sandy Hook school shootings. "What happened Friday is
absolutely the saddest tragedy imaginable," Burnett says. "Our prayers
are with the families and friends. We hope The Bible, by shedding some light into the world, can help in some small way to try and stop the darkness."
came up with the idea for the miniseries a few years ago. "It is our
obligation to tell the stories as written," he says. "The stories are so
brilliant and compelling."
The project will have broad
appeal, he says. "If you know the Bible, you'll enjoy seeing the stories
come to life. If you've never read the Bible, I think you'll love the
stories," he says. "There's a reason the Bible is the most widely read
book in the world."