Mark Burnett and Roma Downey: The Bible in the Bible Belt

Posted on: 9:40 pm, March 12, 2013, by , updated on: 07:17am, March 13, 2013

EDMOND, Okla. – For the past two Sunday nights, the new mini-series “The Bible” has been the number one rated show on television in America.

It’s a Sunday night drama airing on The History Channel depicting the story of The Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

There is an Oklahoma connection to the show, a partnership between the famous executive producer team and one of the biggest churches in the world, LifeChurch.tv.

News Channel 4′s Ali Meyer sat down with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey Tuesday afternoon at LifeChurch.tv headquarters in Edmond.

Burnett is most well-known for his work in reality TV: The Apprentice, The Voice, Shark Tank and Survivor are a few of his biggest hits.

His debut in drama television is shattering stereotypes about the most widely read book on the planet, The Bible.

The Bible is a breath-taking 10-hour journey back in time.

“More people are watching ‘The Bible’ and are talking about ‘The Bible’ than in decades,” Burnett said. “It’s amazing! Oprah was tweeting on Sunday. Then Bishop Jakes was tweeting and Oprah said, ‘Are you watching The Bible, too?’ And they started going back and forth on Twitter about the story of Sampson.”

Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, executive produced the show together.

They shot in Morocco with their teen children on set.

“Our kids were right there saying, ‘Make sure it looks cool and make sure the special effects don’t look lame,’” Downey said. “We wanted this to reach as many people as possible. We wanted it to look gritty and authentic and realistic. I think we’ve been able to achieve that.”

The mini-series has forged a new relationship between Hollywood’s most faithful power couple and LifeChurch.tv, the makers of YouVersion, the Bible app.

YouVersion has been downloaded 85 million times on devices around the world, so far.

There are about four million new downloads each month.

YouVersion commercials run during the show.

Bobby Gruenewald is the Director of Innovation at LifeChurch.tv.

Gruenewald said LifeChurch.tv re-worked part of the YouVersion app recently to accommodate video clips from The Bible Series inside the app.

“We thought it was a great on-ramp for people who are unfamiliar with The Bible” Gruenewald said. “Immediately after the show ends on Sunday nights, YouVersion traffic goes straight up because people are interested in going and learning and reading more about it.”

The Bible Series includes five hours of Old Testament stories and five hours of New Testament stories.

Jesus Christ joins the program Sunday night.

The final episode of The Bible Series will air on Easter Sunday.

Below is the un-edited interview with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey: