7:00am PT by Natalie Stone
'Beyond A.D.': Jason Kennedy Hosts NBC's First-Ever Digital Talk Show With Guests Mark Burnett, Kurt Warner and More
In an effort to extend the conversation and provide a communication platform for inquisitive fans to learn more about the story of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's A.D. The Bible Continues, NBC created its first-ever digital talk-show companion series: Beyond A.D.
The VIMBY-produced project, hosted weekly by E! News host Jason Kennedy, will be made available online in half-hour segments the morning of each Sunday's A.D. The Bible Continues episode, recapping the previous week's storyline and furthering the discussion with celebrity guests, pastors and musical performers in front of a live, recorded audience.
"This is a really cool opportunity to talk about your faith and grow and learn no matter what level of playing field we're all on," Kennedy said of the show, which he helms after wrapping up a day in the E! newsroom.
VIMBY's David Goffin, who serves as executive producer of Beyond A.D., has been working with Burnett since 2000 on numerous projects, including Survivor and Eco-Challenge.
"This is a digitally based show meant to be a screening show and not meant to be fitting into a 22-minute hole with commercials. There's real thought behind why we wanted to do it the way we're doing it," Goffin said.
Beyond A.D. had the opportunity to follow in the footsteps and style of other discussion shows, like AMC's The Talking Dead, but was intentionally created for the online platform.
"As importantly, if not more — and this came out of our success we had with The Bible on the History Channel — it's available to the churches around the country for Sunday morning for pastors and others who are leaders of the church to use as they see fit, to tell the story for their people that can't be found anywhere else, which is a biblical story on network television, and use it as a catch-up point just like the rest of us but also as a companion discussion point for them in their services," Goffin explained.
Former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner is the digital companion series' first celebrity guest and discusses A.D. The Bible Continues on the couch with Downey, Burnett and Kennedy in front of a live audience on the premiere episode. Grammy-winner Israel Houghton performs.
"When it comes to faith, that's what it's all about. I think it's all about dialogue; it's all about challenging yourself; it's all about how you can impact and influence the people around you in whatever way, shape or form that is," Warner told The Hollywood Reporter. "I believe shows like this are powerful and impactful in and of themselves. But I think the greatest impact they have is creating that dialogue between people of faith and people of non-faith."
Scheduled guests on the series include Juan Pablo Di Pace, Judah Smith, Rich Wilkerson, Christine Caine and Bob Goff, among others.
To those who may disregard the show because of its title or faith-based association, Kennedy suggests they reconsider. "If you like great acting, watch the show. If you're a fan of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and any of their shows that they've done, watch the show. It's beautifully done — it really is."
Beyond A.D. launches on Apr. 12 at 6 a.m. on NBC.com.