And when I say the Bible is big, what I mean is, The Bible, the History Channel mini-series, is one of the most popular cable productions of the year.
Once again, we see that entertainment that treats traditional religious beliefs respectfully is appealing to a broad swath of the American public (also known as the commercial-watching, product-buying, making-money-for-the-producers market). And yet, the mainstream media types remain dumbfounded by this bizarre phenomenon. Acculturated puts a bow on it:
What’s more astonishing, given how often pro-faith productions put up massive numbers, is that major media outlets still feel the need to run shocked headlines about it.
First, of course, came The Passion of the Christ. The highest-earning R-rated movie of all time was expected to issue a wake-up call to the industry about the potential for films based on Scripture. When it didn’t, a series of indie movies from Sherwood Baptist Church reaped so much cash from their fairly meager showing, the Hollywood Reporter called them, “some of the most profitable films in modern history.” Then early last year the New York Times noted the success of the pro-Catholic, pro-life film, October Baby. And late last year American Bible Challenge debuted as the number one show ever to run on the Game Show Network.
All of this should have sent a clear message to network and studio executives long before last Sunday—if you build something of even middling quality (and, unfortunately, middling is generous in The Bible’s case) that is even remotely respectful of Christian faith, Christians of all stripes will tune in or buy tickets to see it. But it didn’t.