The Bible to Become History Channel, Mark Burnett Miniseries

17 REP NEWS Mark Burnett
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It's still early, but the reality producer's "The Voice" looks like it might be the rarest of TV commodities: a ratings hit on NBC.

The cable network is readying a 10-hour religious docu-drama for 2013 that will include live-action and state-of-the-art CGI.

History has big plans to make must-see-TV out of the Bible.

The project, which comes from reality producer Mark Burnett, will air as a five-part, 10-hour scripted docu-drama with live-action and state-of-the-art CGI. Given both its scale and production value, The Bible won't appear on History's schedule until 2013.

"This is probably the most important book in mankind, regardless of your beliefs or religious affiliation," History president and general manager Nancy Dubuc tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This series will bring the historical stories of the Bible to life for a new generation."

The series, which was conceived by Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey, will set out to tell the tome's stories, including Noah's Ark, the Exodus and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

"We spend a lot of time talking about this book, and probably not enough time knowing what's in it," Dubuc says. "One of the most important things about history is knowing the stories of history."

This is not the first time History has ventured into religious territory. Just last year, the cable network aired a documentary entitled The Real Face of Jesus? But rather than approach the genre as an investigation or mystery as the net has done in the past, The Bible will be a more straightforward interpretation.

This is something of a reunion for Burnett and Dubuc, who worked together on the 2009 History series Expedition Africa. Dubuc tells THR she is eager to be back in business with the man she calls "one of the most visual storytellers out there." 

News of the project comes more than a month after Burnett joined forces with Hearst Corp. to form a 50:50 media, production and events-based joint venture. As part of the deal, Hearst, a co-owner of History parent A&E Television Networks, acquired a substantial stake in Burnett's existing production business.

Lesley Goldberg contributed to this report.

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