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Jesus Beats 'MasterChef' on Australian TV: Mark Burnett's 'The Bible' Debuts at No. 1

Mark Burnett & Roma Downey
Steve Granitz/WireImage

"We are proud that close to 160 million people worldwide have now seen the series," producer Mark Burnett says of the History Channel hit.

The History Channel's hit The Bible, produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, debuted at No. 1 on Australia's Channel 9 on July 17, taking a 21 percent share and beating MasterChef, ABBA and Winners & Losers.

STORY: 'The Bible' Sequel: 7 Bizarre Scenes to Look Out

"We are proud that close to 160 million people worldwide have now seen the series," says Burnett, who estimates that 95 million saw it in the U.S. Burnett and Downey are working on a sequel for NBC with the working title AD: Beyond the Bible.

Burnett hinted to THR about what to expect in the sequel, likely including an historically accurate scene of Christians being burned alive as torches to light nighttime parties thrown by Roman Emperor Nero, who inspired the Beast in the Bible's Revelation.