Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on “The Bible”

He is best known as the executive producer of “Survivor.” His wife starred in “Touched by an Angel.” Together they have produced a 10-hour series for the History Channel on “God’s love story”—the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Watch them describe their religious backgrounds and the inspiration behind the project.

 

MARK BURNETT: I grew up with a Presbyterian mom and a Catholic dad. And never a bad word between them. Especially on the subject of the Bible. I don’t remember ever as a kid not having bibles in our house.

ROMA DOWNEY: Faith is deeply important to me, has been since I was a child. I was raised in a family of faith. I’ve always found deep comfort in it, was particularly thrilled in the early ‘90’s to be cast to play an angel on “Touched by an Angel,” which as you know ran for almost 10 years and delivered a central message of God’s love. It was such a privilege to be the messenger on that and my old Irish father used to say “the family that prays together stays together.”

BURNETT: It’s 66 books, you know, and we consider it to be one story. It’s one story. And the through-line, as we approached it was, it’s the story of God’s love for all of us. That’s what this book is. And we did Genesis through Revelation.

DOWNEY: We only had ten hours so clearly we, you know, we had to make choices. But one of the decisions that we made early on was that whatever stories we told, we wanted to tell them in way that will make emotional connections with the audience, and that sometimes requires a little bit deeper storytelling. It takes up more time to allow you the opportunity to start to care about the character, so that you can come into the story and walk in the footsteps of that character.

BURNETT: We’ve approached this as God’s love story, God’s love of all of us. There’s only one perfect character in the entire 66 books. That’s Jesus Christ. Everybody else, to lesser or greater degrees, are flawed, like all of us. And people have huge problems, I mean, in kings, but still God didn’t give up. And that’s the message. It’s like an unconditional love story.

DOWNEY: We made it knowing that, that we would hope that somebody’s grandmother might watch it, but that the teenagers would watch it. You know, it’s, it’s a story of our time. It’s the story of our God. And we wanted to make it as well as we could and we prayed every step of the way.

  • Kevin Miller

    How can I get in contact with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey?

  • Jen Stoudt

    Would you know how to contact Burnett & Downey? I watched the first episode of The Bible on Comcast – on demand. Splendidly done! However, I wanted to pass on that one segment is out of order…the segment of Moses with Pharoah and the ten plagues.
    If you could please pass this on to them. It’s very well done…yet I wouldn’t want to confuse those not familiar with the Bible….the out of sequence segment would be quite confusing!!
    Thank you PBS.

  • Pauline Burbank

    I would also like to get in touch with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey about my completed script about the Lost Ten Tribes. Can you give me an email address?

  • Pauline Burbank

    I would like to contact Mark and Roma too.

  • Vicki Peterson

    Can I get the book in large print for my 95 year old mother?

  • cptndawg1

    Mark Burnett produces the SURVIVOR REALITY SHOW…..How fortunate it is that the original handbook on surviving has now been put into prime time TV viewing…..THE BIBLE…..Thanks Mark and Roma……..cd1

  • Ira and Janice Weinstein

    We would like to send a synopsis of our movie script “Messiah is coming” to Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Ira is an Orthodox Jewish Believer in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew Name) and Janice is a grafted-in Messianic Believer. Our movie is about the Millennial Kingdom of Yeshua after He returns, based on Biblical Scriptures. People don’t seem to know what happens after the Armageddon…

  • Angela

    This series has been entertaining for the most part but missing some very key truths. For instance, why couldn’t there have been the voice of God after Jesus’ baptism saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” What happened to the Holy Spirit coming down upon Him like a dove – evidence of the Father, Son, and Spirit of God being one. In that scene they just showed the sky and clouds. And also, in Sodom the men were after the angels for sex. Period. It wasn’t brought out nor was it brought out that Lot offered his daughters to the men. There are a lot of key points that have been left out and, truth be told, it’s a little unnerving. Not to mention that it’s also a bit gory at times. If I had a young child, I would not let the child see this series b/c of the violence and gore. I can’t even watch it myself. I had to turn away and mute it tonight… I’m just saying. It would also be nice to see a Jesus representative of the Jewish race, not all the time w/ blonde hair. What’s w/ that anyway? Almost everyone else, w/ the exception of Mary and Jesus seem to have the Middle Eastern features but theirs are more European. I’ve seen this over and over again in movies about Jesus – even portraying Him w/ blue or almost translucent eyes – and getting tired of it. Very inconsistent w/ the people of the land and also seems to signify what I grew up with; that this is the standard of beauty and superiority. It would be nice to see a movie portraying Jesus w/ dark curly or wavy hair, dark facial hair, and tanned skin – just like most people would have if they were out in the sun day after day. And for those of you who read this and may think that I’m making too big of a deal about this issue, well, it has been a stumbling block for some cultures… Well, if nothing else, I hope this series causes people to read their Bibles and get accuracy.

  • jamie

    I just want to thank Mark and Roma for bringing the Bible to television and bringing some of its most beloved stories to life. I can’t remember the last time my family and I sat together and watched a quality television show. My children have so many questions and it has given my husband and I an opportunity to answer and explain things that would have been to hard to answer before.

  • Mark

    The shows aren’t completely “Biblical” as they add events and gloss over others. For example the Bible never makes any reference to an angel turning into a Ninja-style warrior wielding two swords and embarking on an expertly choreographed, slow-motion stabbing spree to slay the wicked men of Sodom. According to the book of Genesis the angels merely caused some the men of Sodom to become blind before God firebombed the city with fire and brimstone. In another bow to the current culture and political correctness the failed to mention the widespread homosexuality in Sodom and that men of the city actually sought to have sex with the angels instead of Lot’s daughters. (Genesis 19)

    There are many other departures from scripture to be expected from Hollywood as if the Bible itself didn’t have enough drama or excitement.

  • Barbara

    I have a hard time believing you’re a Catholic. Being married by Della Reese in your home.? Mary having pain in childbirth? Who were your advisers-

  • Angie

    @Angela. From the perspective of someone European, it’s ridiculous how many portrayals are now based upon color in the name of PCism. For example, Samson is an African with dreadlocks!!! I can’t watch any show on tv w.o being preached to about the rainbow our society has become and the inclusion of homosexual relationships that r portrayed as normal. Seen Bravo lately? So, sorry, but the race card is played and losing steam. Take a closer look around you.

  • Michelle

    I wanted to thank you for putting this out. As in all things there will be comments both negative and positive but the series is great and even though it does not give all the details it should inspire others to study to show thyself approved. My only concern is for the people that can not afford cable and they are not able to see it. Just think
    if it were accessible on internet the volume of people that would get to have this seed planted in them. Again thank
    and it will manifest what it was sent to. God’s blessing on you.

  • Dian Smith

    The Bible follows the timeline in the scriptures. Of course, dialogue has been added. My biggest concern was the baptism of Paul and others. Baptism is a burial. The pouring of water or dipping in water is not a burial. Please consider the importance of this truth. Continue your quest for the understanding of the Word.
    God be with you.
    D. Smith.

  • Dian Smith

    To further clarify my definition of baptism it is simply a quick burial in water. As one comes up out of the water, one shows their faith in the resurrection of our Savior and puts on the name Christian.
    D. Smith

  • Sharon Davison

    I immediately thought these two people could save the Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Being agnostic-spiritualist myself, I still loved seeing the Passion Play & believe it to be the very living religious theatre that Roma and Mark seem perfect for as patron directors.
    Could someone please ask them to check out this struggling living Bible Outside Show? Even as I believe the rituals of religions are the cause of much suffering & do not believe in religious missionaries, I still support the Passion Play & Eureka Springs is one of the few sweet spots that really has it all & also some one of a kinds like can’t be found as purely as here. The Branson Missouri Sheppard of the Hills Outdoor Show is still one of my favorite productions ever. We have a lot of movie talent here in Arkansas. Please let the producers of the TV series The Bible (Ten Commandments) modernized, it seemed to me, truthfully, could see some amazing lasting impacts for God’s Glory, whatever religion one relates to, through the community of people that you will, literally, be saving their livelihoods, families & ‘churches’. Thanks for checking this out!