Pop Culture’s Most Popular TV Show Is–Brace Yourself–The Bible
by Megan Basham
This past Sunday the television industry felt the ground shake when the first installment of the History Channel’s five-part miniseries, The Bible, drew a whopping 14.3 million viewers. … And it officially made The Bible the number one scripted cable broadcast of the year.
The news was apparently so astonishing it prompted Business Week to investigate exactly how the basic cable network pulled it off and inspired Time magazine’s resident T.V. critic, James Poniewozik, to ponder whether The Bible’s success will lead to further mainstream forays into religious-themed entertainment.
What’s more astonishing, given how often pro-faith productions put up massive numbers, is that major media outlets still feel the need to run shocked headlines about it.
First, of course, came The Passion of the Christ. The highest-earning R-rated movie of all time was expected to issue a wake-up call to the industry about the potential for films based on Scripture. When it didn’t, a series of indie movies from Sherwood Baptist Church reaped so much cash from their fairly meager showing, the Hollywood Reporter called them, “some of the most profitable films in modern history.” …
All of this should have sent a clear message to network and studio executives long before last Sunday—if you build something of even middling quality (and, unfortunately, middling is generous in The Bible’s case) that is even remotely respectful of Christian faith, Christians of all stripes will tune in or buy tickets to see it.
Hollyweird has the rep of being all about $$, but this is not currently true, IMO. Anti-war pic after anti-war pic have flowed from Hollyweird for the past 10 years, all financial disasters, yet I’m sure there are more to come (and bomb). One pic comes out, “Zero Dark Thirty”, that celebrates an accomplishment in the War On Terror, and two things happen: it’s a big financial success; Hollyweirders find reasons to condemn it. Hollyweird churns out out anti-Christian pics like “The Handmaid’s Tale”, most of them financial disasters (and you can guarantee there will be a steady stream of more coming). But “The Passion of the Christ”, Sherwood Baptist’s films, The “Veggie Tales” series, Rob “Doughnut Man” Evans and the “Psalty” series are all highly successful financially, and Hollyweird condemns or ignores them (Not heard of some of the examples I cited? Like I said, “ignores them”, i.e. the silent treatment.). Hollyweird loves $$; there are ideologies Hollyweird loves enough and hates enough to forgo $$.