NBC has decided to cancel A.D.: The Bible Continues, the much-anticipated follow-up to the blockbuster The Bible, the network announced Friday. Despite an opening night that garnered 7.6 million same-night viewers and about 9.5 million overall, ratings for A.D. continued to plummet to less than half of their premiere numbers, causing the network to cancel the series.
The show premiered in April, on Easter, which could have been one reason for the strong ratings.
A.D., produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, picks up where The Bible, which chronicled the life and rise of Jesus Christ, left off, and tells the story of the start of Christianity, reports Variety. A.D. starred Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus. Richard Coyle, James Callis, Babou Alieu Ceesay, Chipo Chung, and Adam Levy also starred, according to Variety.
Although NBC decided to cancel A.D., it might be resurrected elsewhere. Burnett and Downey said they want to continue the series, perhaps in digital format, or to be picked up by faith-based networks. The producers believe because of their large faith-based fan network, the program will be successful elsewhere.
The pair have been working on a launch of their OTT channel, which is in the works with MGM. A.D.’s producers partnered with MGM to form the United Artists Media Group last fall.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the market for A.D. was promising before its cancel. In addition to the excellent launch timing, other faith-based shows and movies have done remarkably well in the mainstream. The success of films and shows such as Downey and Burnett’s The Bible, Christian Bale’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Russell Crowe’s Noah proved to NBC executives that an audience existed for the Biblical drama genre.
If A.D. were to return to airwaves, it would likely not be until late 2016 and early 2017, which means a possibly different cast.
A.D. isn’t the first show NBC has cancelled this year. Entertainment Weekly reported that fans were surprised to hear that NBC decided to cancel the popular series Hannibal after three seasons. Hannibal’s showrunner, Bryan Fuller, released a statement about the show being cancelled.
“NBC has allowed us to craft a television series that no other broadcast network would have dared, and kept us on the air for three seasons despite Cancellation Bear Chow ratings and images that would have shredded the eyeballs of lesser Standards & Practices enforcers. Jen Salke and her team have been fantastic partners and creatively supportive beyond measure.Hannibal is finishing his last course at NBC’s table this summer, but a hungry cannibal can always dine again. And personally, I look forward to my next meal with NBC.”
Like the producers of A.D., despite NBC’s decision to cancel Hannibal, its producers might continue to air the show elsewhere.
[Images from NBC and Zap2it]