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Mark Burnett says there will be a follow-up project to his hugely successful 10-part miniseries, The Bible. The producer also revealed he has just finished editing the feature version of the series that will focus on Jesus. It clocks in at two hours and 13 minutes, originally three hours.
“Roma [Downey] and I will do a follow-up, one-hundred percent. Something big,” he said Sunday at the Produced By Conference. “We’ve also just finished recutting the Jesus part of The Bible into a feature.”
History’s record-breaking lead-in for original scripted programming debuted to 13.1 million viewers and wrapped up Easter Sunday with 11.7 million viewers.
The producer stated that he could see himself and his wife, Downey, distributing Bible-related programming for the next 10 years. “I believe in the next 15 years, more people on the planet will have seen our Bible series than not seen it,” he said.
Burnett also spoke about tightening the rules of people getting producer credits on TV shows. “It’s a matter of you, not me,” he told moderator Vance Van Petten, national executive director of the PGA. “There are almost no rules on who can be credited as a producer,” he noted, as opposed to writers and directors for which there are strict rules.
He also discussed his unscripted network series, including his break-out hit Survivor which is shooting its 27th season and whose current season topped American Idol in ratings. When asked whether American Idol should be worried about The Voice, he joked they should be worried about Survivor.
Burnett compared his The Voice to the NFL draft, “but if you gave players a choice of teams.” He also pegged it as “young America’s music show,” adding how it adapted to the younger demo’s consumption of media. “You have to go meet this audience where they are,” referring to the show’s heavy use of social media.
The Produced By discussion also included how he pitched Survivor to Les Moonves after getting shot down at ABC, the best advice he ever received from good friend DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg (if something doesn’t work out, just say “next”) and the work of being a producer.
“Producers are the first person in a project and the last person out, and no one pats a producer on the back,” he said.
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