Monday6 July 2015
Sunday night TV just got more biblical, with Channel Nine airing A.D. Kingdom & Empire from 9.35pm around the country.
A.D. is the 12-episode sequel to The Bible television series produced by reality TV veteran Mark Burnett (who created Survivor and The Apprentice) and his wife, actress Roma Downey.
The Bible TV series swept through the big stories of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with episodes on Abraham, Noah’s Ark, Samson and Delilah, the Exodus and the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. The sequel, titled A.D. Beyond the Bible in the US, but changed to A.D. Kingdom and Empire for an Australian audience, picks up where the first series left off, chronicling events from the Book of Acts.
The Bible TV series was hugely popular in the US, attracting 14 million viewers when the premiere episode in 2013. Reception in Australia was more sedated, screening first on prime time with Channel 9 but quickly pushed to a late evening time slot as ratings continued to slip. The first episode of A.D. Kingdom & Empire screened last night (Sunday 5 July, 9.35pm), ranking 16th on Sunday television national ratings. Approximately 407,000 tuned in for the first episode across metropolitan Australia (compared to 1.6 million viewers tuning in to the most popular Sunday night program The Voice).
A.D. aired in the US over Easter reports suggest it failed to attract the audience numbers of its predecessor. Today, American TV network NBC, which picked up the sequel, announced it had cancelled plans for a second season. But producers Burnett and Romney have plans to continue telling what they consider as “the greatest story ever told” on a digital network in 2016, according to Variety.
You can watch the first episode of A.D. Kingdom & Empire – called ‘The Tomb is Open’ – on catch-up TV, here. See some stills from the first few episodes here: