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.