There’s no stopping Derry actress/producer Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, the reality TV king behind Survivor, The Voice and so many other primetime hits.
The couple scored a huge hit in March with their History Channel miniseries The Bible, and now they’ve just inked a deal with CBS to create a miniseries called The Dovekeepers, based on the 2011 best-selling historical novel by Alice Hoffman about “four women whose lives intertwine when Roman armies fought fugitive Jews during the siege of Masada in 70 CE,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
”The Dovekeepers is a compelling, beautifully written novel that combines history and fiction into a timeless story of survival and heroism,” said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler. “Mark and Roma possess an amazing passion for telling biblical stories and for producing entertaining television on an event scale.”
That they do. The Bible stands as the most popular series ever aired on the History Channel and one of the biggest ever on cable, with an average of nearly 12 million viewers for each of the 10 episodes.
“[The Dovekeepers] is a testament to the human spirit and how love can rise from the ashes of war,” Downey said. “It is, quite simply, an amazing story of heroism and hope, and a story that must be seen not just with the eyes but felt with the heart.”
Downey and Burnett won’t have a moment to catch their breath in the New Year. Their film Son of God, all about Jesus, will debut in theaters on February 28. It’s already earned a thumbs-up from mega-pastor Rick Warren, who’s been a mentor to Downey and Burnett since before The Bible aired.
“I’ve seen most of the films about Jesus produced in the past 50 years. Son of God stands alone in a class by itself. It is a powerful and poignant movie, the best Jesus movie I have ever seen. I know it will be a blessing to millions when it opens all across America,” Warren said.
After the film release, a 16-city, month-long U.S. concert tour featuring an array of Christian artists will follow, aptly titled The Bible 2014 tour. It’ll play in many of the big Christian mega-churches throughout the country – debuting in Warren’s Saddlebank Church in Lake Forest, California.
“Rick Warren said to me and Roma, ‘You know one of the most dangerous prayers that you can pray is, ‘Use me,’ because he will,’ ” Burnett said.
“And we can see how that played out in our lives,” Downey said. “We’ve been working for God ever since.”
And God has certainly paid them back, given the huge success of The Bible and all its attendant spin-offs.
Forget the blarney! What it actually costs to live in Ireland