Ratings for The History Channel’s 10-part miniseries “The Bible” grew by 14 percent each week, from its March 3 debut through Easter night, when the intense, meticulously crafted program concluded. Close to 12 million viewers tuned in according to Nielsen, nearing the record setting 13 million who saw the first broadcast.
There was another phenomenon evident, though.
“The outpouring of grief over a story whose ending most people in the Western world know the ending to is testament to the astonishing success of the ‘The Bible’ which has caught many seasoned television experts off guard,” says James Nye, a Daily Mail correspondent.
” ‘The Bible’ and its astounding success bucks the perceived trend to not invest in what the larger networks see as traditional religious themed programing,” Mr. Nye notes.
Indeed. Another traditional Easter time broadcast also showed the power of faith-based content in broadcast.
ABC’s annual broadcast of the 57-year-old “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston pulled in 6 million viewers when it aired Saturday evening. Aside from NCAA basketball, which pulled in 11 million viewers, the monumental classic ruled the ratings roost, as it has done since ABC began airing it in 1973 - besting audience numbers from NBC’s “Dateline” and “Saturday Night Live,” plus FOX’s “Cops,” to name a few.