The miniseries from Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey is scoring in the ratings for History, drawing 13.1 million viewers in its premiere episode and holding strong ahead of its final episode Sunday. But that makes The Bible fair game for The Colbert Report host, who last night took on everything from Downey’s casting as the Virgin Mary and Burnett’s optimistic outlook of the mini’s impact to Jesus being too hunky to believe. Check it out:
UPDATE: ‘The Bible’ Producers Call Controversy Over Satan’s Resemblance To President Obama “Utter Nonsense”
UPDATE, 10:15 AM: History and The Bible executive producers, husband and wife Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, just addressed the Obama-Satan controversy. “History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the network said in a statement. “The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
Burnett and Downey used stronger language in dismissing the connection, suggesting that the actor playing the Devil may have been simply type cast. “This is utter nonsense,” they said. “The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.” Added Downey: “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”
PREVIOUS 7:15 AM: History’s hit miniseries The Bible had its 3rd installment last night. It’s already been taken to task for its use of beautiful actors in all key roles. Now the project’s casting choice for the role of Satan has come under fire for the apparent resemblance of Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani to President Barack Obama.
History has announced that its five-part docudrama series The Bible will premiere on March 3 at 8 PM. The 10-hour special, executive produced by Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey (who plays Mary), combines live action and CGI to tell the best-known stories of the word’s most popular book. Keith David narrates the series, which Burnett has been working on for two years and which was greenlighted in May 2011. Also in the cast is Portugal’s Diogo Morgado as Jesus and UK-based actors including Sean Teale (Skins), David Rintoul (My Week with Marilyn), Amber Rose Revah (The Borgias), Peter Guinness, Greg Hicks and Simon Kunz (Matchpoint).
EXCLUSIVE: As History‘s blockbuster Hatfields & McCoys miniseries is making its final rounds on the awards circle with strong showings at the Golden Globe, SAG and WGA nominations, the network is looking to extend the hit franchise on the unscripted side. I’ve learned that History is developing a reality series featuring the descendants of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Details about the series, produced by Wild Eyes Prods. (Bullproof, Living Large), are being kept under wraps, but it is safe to assume that the contemporary Hatfields and McCoys will no longer be feuding.
Seven decades ago, the descendants of the two clans whose bloody clash rocked the Tug Valley area between Kentucky and West Virginia post-Civil War were showcased in Life magazine to attest that the two families had buried the hatchet. (At left is a photograph used in the 1944 story featuring Shirley Hatfield and Frankie McCoy, working together in a local military factory) And in 2003, descendants of the Hatfield and McCoy families gathered in Pikeville, KY to sign a truce for a symbolic and official end to the feud that claimed at least a dozen lives. The proclamation was signed by more than 60 descendants during the fourth Hatfield-McCoy Festival, with Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton and West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise declaring June 14 Hatfield and McCoy Reconciliation Day.
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the blockbuster success of Hatfields & McCoys, History has teamed with two key auspices behind the miniseries — executive producer Leslie Greif and co-writer Ted Mann — for another six-hour mini set during America’s turbulent 19th century.
History is developing Texas Rising, a miniseries about the formation and rise of the Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement organization in North America. It will chronicle the force’s humble beginnings — its creation was triggered by a call-to-arms penned by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 — as well as its role during Texas’ secession from the U.S. during the Civil War. Mann will write the mini, with Greif executive producing.
Mann, repped by APA and attorney Tom Hoberman, recently joined the second season of Starz’ period drama Magic City after serving as co-executive producer on the pay cable network’s first drama series Crash and the upcoming Da Vinci’s Demons. His credits also include HBO’s dark Western Deadwood and ABC’s NYPD Blue.
Travis Fimmel (The Beast, Baytown Outlaws) and Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, CSI: NY) are among the new cast members announced today for History’s upcoming scripted series Vikings. Fimmel will play the role of Viking leader Ragnar; Gilsig has …