News Briefs: Bow Down Before The Bible's Ratings

DIVINE RATINGS

... History Channel had a big night on Sunday with its dual premieres of The Bible and Vikings, two historical fiction miniseries. The Bible, a 10-parter about a do-gooder from the olden days, drew 13.1 million viewers to make it the biggest cable entertainment broadcast of the year (i.e. the biggest audience for a non-sports broadcast). The book was better, but 13.1 million! That's like three weeks of everything on NBC! Vikings followed with 6.2 million viewers, good enough to embarrass the major networks and win the 10pm timeslot. [History via press release]


NOSE-DIVING RATINGS

... You're all dying to hear those Red Widow premiere ratings, right? 6.58 million viewers and a 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demo! See you in the junkyard, Red Widow. Let me know how Zero Hour and 666 Park Avenue are doing. [EW]


GEEKY NEWS

... Robert Kirkman, creator of the The Walking Dead comics, has his next project lined up, but he's doing it kind of backwards. Kirkman has teamed with Fox International Channels, the worldly arm of Fox that airs The Walking Dead overseas, to develop a series based on a script of Kirkman's that deals with exercise. Wait, I'm sorry, exorcism. The show would follow a man who's been possessed his whole life and seeks answers to his condition and discovers that it could lead to the end of the world. The project would need a domestic distributor before it goes anywhere, so it's gonna be a while before this ball gets rolling. [EW

... Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister on the HBO series Game of Thrones and people are making a big deal over him saying that he was going to shoot Season 4 later this year because HBO hasn't yet announced that Season 4 will happen even though we all know it will so please let's stop making a big deal out of this because Game of Thrones will go to Season 1,000. [Den of Geek]


CASTING NEWS

... Supermodel and former Seal-lover Heidi Klum will be the newest judge on NBC's America's Got Talent, bringing the total number of judges on the "talent" show to four for the first time. Klum, who has plenty of reality-show experience after Project Runway, joins new judge Mel B. (yes, the Spice Girl), and returning judges Howie Mandel and Howard Stern. [NBC via press release]

... Chloe Sevigny, whose acting career has consisted of playing an underage teen being raped, giving blowjobs to her director boyfriend, becoming a legless grotesque mutant, and being a wife in a polygamous relationship, will take on her most terrifying project yet: playing an ex-wife! Sevigny has signed on to play for former wife of Chris Messina's Danny in Fox's comedy The Mindy Project for at least three episodes. Look for her in April. [TV Line]    

... Samaire Armstrong (remember her?) is appropriately starring in a pilot about coming back from the dead. Armstrong, whose breakout stint on Dirty Sexy Money as a Paris Hilton wannabe was cut short by a stay in a treatment facility for "personal issues," will star in ABC's pilot The Returned, about a town that finds its population increasing when the dead come back to life. Don't call them zombies, though; these guys just come back from the dead and behave like their old selves. She'll play a woman who goes a little nuts when her dead dad shows up on her doorstep. [Deadline Hollywood

... Scott Bakula will guest-star on Two and a Half Men as a used-car salesman who gets tied up in Jake's love life. So that's what it has come to, eh Scott Bakula? Look for him on the CBS comedy in April. [TV Line]

... Babe's James Cromwell is on-board for ABC's soapy thriller Betrayal, about a woman who has an affair with a lawyer who ends up defending a murder suspect that the woman's lawyer husband is prosecuting and oh man this already sounds like a messy good time. Cromwell will play the head honcho of a wealthy and powerful Chicago family. You last saw Cromwell as a crazy doctor on American Horror Story: Asylum but because this is a family-oriented website I prefer to say he starred in Babe. [THR]

... Lost's Naveen Andrews (Sayid!) has joined the ABC pilot Reckless. The thriller stars that kid from Almost Famous as a man caught up in political intrigue when his wife is imprisoned overseas. Andrews will play a renegade who's willing to get his wife back for a price. [TV Line]

... Indie darling Lily Taylor has joined J.H. Wyman and J.J. Abrams' Fox pilot about robot cops in the future! Taylor will play a human police captain. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Chuck's Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) has joined the TBS comedy pilot Do It Yourself. The pilot is a workplace comedy set in a home-improvement store, and McPartlin will play an overenthusiastic employee who works in the paint department. [TV Line

... INSTANT CRED: Fox's drama pilot Gang Related has booked The RZA, the beat genius behind The Wu-Tang Clan. The series follows a gang member who infiltrates the San Francisco anti-gang unit. The RZA will play a kind old man who runs a flower shop and enjoys yoga in his spare time. Just kidding, he'll play a cop. [THR]



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (55)
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I'm not at all surprised to find The Bible has such good ratings. People will tune in for 3 reasons: 1) to see what they got right 2) to see what they got wrong and 3) to watch another incarnation of the testament of the largest religion in the World. I'm also not surprised by Vikings because let's face it, Vikings are frickin' awesome.

I'm rather appalled by the negativity and sarcasm surrounding "The Bible". People seem determined to insult something solely on the basis of it being a religious documentary. I'm neither Christian nor religious in general and I'm finding The Bible to be an amazing production. Honestly, if more people would watch stuff like this, then maybe we'd understand each other a little more instead of being snits about our differences. And, hello, there are sword wielding angels kicking butt - who can't enjoy that?!

As to Vikings, it's amazing as well. It has action, adventure, Gabriel Byrne. I'm looking forward to the next installments of both series.

As to Heidi Klum on AGT, I guess most of the judges on there haven't had much in the "talent" department, so what's one more? Seriously, none - NONE - of the judges thus far can be said to be utterly talented (they're judges on a talent competition for goodness sake). I don't watch for the judges. I watch the acts.
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I loved Vikings...I am a viking and have no interest in some old story book called the bible....in small caps.
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Oh yeah, because the Vikings don't have "old story books" of their own that constitute the stories, myths, legends, morals, and traditions of their culture.
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Or be crushed, be crushed, be crushed by its jolly boots of doom.
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RZA!!
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Tim, is The Returned an adaptation of the French TV show Les Revenants? Because the plotline is exactly the same... I didn't finish watching it, but from what I saw, it was pretty good..
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So America's Got Talent gets another non-American judge, and this one also has no talent? Yeah, kinda hard to take that seriously.

Scott Bakula is going to be playing Jake's new fiance's dad, perhaps? She's older than Jake by a generation, but he's older than her by a generation.
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James Cromwell will always be Zefram Cochrane the inventor of the warp drive from Star trek first contact. and a very awesome movie
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Considering how close his face is to Klum's boobs -- which is obviously where I was looking -- it's a wonder how I didn't notice creepy Duchovny there at first.

Oh, and Gang Related sounds cool. It could be awesome if done right... of course, it could be crappy, too.
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That'll do, Tim, that'll do.
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"You last saw Cromwell as a crazy doctor on American Horror Story: Asylum but because this is a family-oriented website I prefer to say he starred in Babe."

"Chloe Sevigny, whose acting career has consisted of playing an underage teen being raped, giving blowjobs to her director boyfriend..."

If you make the point of saying it's a family-oriented website, maybe you shouldn't talk about blowjobs.
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This is not a family-oriented website. It was a joke. I laughed.
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I love The Money Pit
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"... Babe's James Cromwell..." Lol

While Mr. Cromwell has had a lot of great roles and played memorable characters throughout three decades. He will always be the farmer who gave that pig a shot at becoming a sheep dog. Well done.
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To some of us, Cromwell will always be Stretch Cunningham from All in the Family.
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Creepy Duchovny!

Can't wait to hear more about the Wyman & Abrams show. If those names weren't attached to the show, I reaaaaaly wouldn't even consider a robocop drama series.
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How can they already forget the last character Chloe Sevigny played as the lead in a television show? Mia, the pre-op transexual hitwoman in "Hit and Miss"! I guess that show got canceled.
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Happy to see Vikings with such good ratings!!!! :D
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"Lost's Naveen Andrews" Now that Sinbad's been cancelled, guess he's back over from the UK now...
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"Lost's Naveen Andrews (Sayid!) has joined the ABC pilot Reckless. The thriller stars that kid from Almost Famous as a man caught up in political intrigue when his wife is imprisoned overseas. Andrews will play a renegade who's willing to get his wife back for a price"
Mmmm.. "Missing 2.0" anyone?
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High numbers for The Bible? You all know what this means: second season! It'll be either a sequel or a prequel. It'll be called something like "Bible - The Beginnings", or "God - The Dark Might Rises" dealing with God's angst filled teenage years being bullied by Thor and his gang, leading to God isolating himself and creating an imaginary world in his head, or "Jesus - The Early/Latter Years" focusing either on his childhood or retirement days.

The US is the most religious nation in the industrialized world, which might explain the ratings. But I like to think the reason is that people are just too lazy to read the book. It's the classic "I'll just watch the movie" explanation.
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Fiction on the History Channel! Maybe Jesus was an Ancient Alien. At least they got his skin color correct.
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What? The Bible is based on a novel?
I like "God - the dark might rises", maybe he became sorta Dexter and killed all the other Gods but he definitively created an imaginary world! God played by Mark Pellegrino?
And how about Jesus in "Jesus - True Ninja" where he went to Asia after his back-from-dead experience to learn some Kung Fu to kick some Roman butt?
I hope Quentin reads our comments so he can immediately shout a script at his entourage.
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If we follow the Supernatural mythology, Gods such as Thor, Zeus and the like are just a bunch of semi powerful arrogant maniacs compared to the all powerful God (you know, THE GOD). But I do like your ideas. Pitch them to NBC, I bet 5$ they'll buy it.
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Jesus 2: This time it's personal!
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A nunchuck-wielding Jesus rises from the dead, but instead of turning the other cheek he defies his father and seeks revenge for his untimely murder at the hands of the Romans. Blood, guts, and glory follow, also he finds a sidekick/comedic relief in a fellow crucifix-ee, Ralph (played by Chris Rock 15 years ago), whom Jesus rescues. His catchphrase: "YOU SHALL REPENT!" or else the more straight forward "I'LL SEE YOU IN HELLLLL".

I'd watch that show so hard!
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I like to read, but the last time I bothered reading the bible... it felt pretty dry. Plus I'm not the most Catholic person in the world.

Then again, I didn't bother watching this show nor did I see Passion of Christ. Between my childhood attendance of mass and Sunday school I know the basic stories anyway... so you know... spoilers.

While some of the stories in the bible translate to modern re-tellings pretty well (the TV show "Kings" was great) it just doesn't do much for me.
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how about a spinoff? : "Moses, the making of the arc" or "The troubled youth of Mary Magdalene" lol
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"Moses, the making of the arc". Noah built the ark. Moses got the Jews out of Egypt. -_-
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Or "Pilate: life before the ten comandments" (wink* wink*).
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Gang Related sounds like a pretty interesting spin to your usual undercover/infiltration show. Still hoping The Returned will not be a pale comparison to its original inspiration, but... we'll see. Oh and... Heads up for show makers in America: say your show has something to do with the Bible, it will bring you rating more than quality ever will.
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Is anyone gonna be reviewing the Vikings? Please? :)
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Mulder is such a lovable creep, and I'm not mad at that picture either.

Why is the world so obsessed with exorcism now? It's not enough we have at least 3 awful movies released every year about it? People really want to tune into a weekly series about someone who is possessed by the freakin' Devil?? Serial killers, zombies, all that crap on TV is one thing, but come on, a serialized TV show about exorcism is too much. (This over-reaction may be due to the fact that I was forced to see the original Exorcist when it came back to theaters, and it scared the living shit out of me.)
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Tim, by "that kid from Almost Famous" do you happen to mean the incredible Patrick Fugit? Himself an indie darling from cult hits Saved! and Wristcutters: A Love Story?? I may have followed him around a Manhattan Beach Target for 5-10 minutes.
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Ok, Red Widow, Zero Hour and Cult, 3 shows that are all tanking in the ratings but 3 shows I absolutely love. Well, nothing much on network tv anymore for me, so probably will do better sticking to cable shows and specialty channel such as History Channel.
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wouldn't really say Dirty Sexy Money was Samaire Armstrong's breakout, she was barely on it. she was on The OC more probably
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I know America loves fiction, but those numbers for The Bible are ridiculous. On another note, I thought AMC was making Thief of Thieves? That would be Kirkman's next project.
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Y'know, I didn't watch the premiere of Red Widow, but it's obscene that 6.5 million people watched a show, but only 1 million of them count. Never mind the 5.5 million viewers out of the demographic who tuned in for an older adult oriented program and potentially liked the show, and are willing to keep watching! It's fucking bullshit. No wonder broadcast shows are starting to kick network programming's ass...

*gets off soapbox*
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that's only 6.5 million that take part in the Nielsen ratings, so they're inaccurate from the start anyway lol
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Right, I get that, but it's a dumb and outmoded form of collecting viewer data. Most homes these days have DVRs and they could definitely be used to more accurately track views, both live and recorded! How they got the math way back in the day of X multiplied by Y equals Z is so r-tarded, especially considering they only use target regions with boxes to determine countrywide viewership! Complete and utter bullshit...

I just get pissed, dammit!
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Actually it's more like 6500 Nielsen households watched it and they multiplied it by 1000 to get the 6.5 million.
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well, still inaccurate unless everybody takes part on it :p
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And TV.com didn't even have The Bible on it's watch list. Huh. Oh, Scott Bakula, please hold on and wait for something better. You're too good for Two and a Half Men.
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I'm glad TV.com didn't say anything. As if The Bible needed more marketing. 13 million viewers and no one knew if it'd be any good aside from the iffy source material. And NBC wonders why Zero Hour barely scratched a million...Jesus is better than Nazis. Now we can all stop arguing because the ratings are in...
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"Jesus is better than Nazis." - Bumper Sticker!
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Sure they did a show based on the Bible - instant audience regardless of how much effort they put in - but did they really have to call it The Bible? Worst...Title...Ever
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Considering it's a retelling of...um... The Bible, what would you like to call it?
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Wasn't Samaire Armstrong's breakout role on The OC?

And I'd forgotten that book 3 of A Song of Fire and Ice was being split into seasons 3 and 4. Damn.
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Yes! Let us all take a moment to remember... what's her name... Anna! She was great. Seth has no idea what he's missing.
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Seth should have stuck with Lane on Gilmore Girls.
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Seth should not have been in Scary Movie 4 for 2 minutes.
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I just know Armstrong from The Mentalist.
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Hahaha, good to see the return of creepy Fox Mulder! And yes, please do continue to refer to James Cromwell as being from Babe. While I absolutely loved AHS: Asylum and him in it, I can't look at him the same way again, so I need constant reminders of his more family-friendly roles...

And yay, Season 4 of Game of Thrones! Sounds like an unofficial confirmation to me, not that there was any doubt that it would get another season or ten, though.
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