Mark Burnett's next project: The Bible

Remember when the History Channel used to be, like, educational? There were shows about famous landmarks and ancient Aztec civilizations. There were biographies of former presidents and shows about the different types of Native American arrowheads found in Yosemite. There were documentaries on the Model-T and dramatic reenactments of great battles from the Spanish American War.  Well not anymore, ladies and gentleman.

Nowadays when you flip on the History Channel, chances are you we will be greeted by the smiling, intelligent faces of Glenn and Mitchell Guist of Swamp People. Yes, that's right, the same channel that used to teach you how an airplane is assembled now prominently features a show called Swamp People. Not Swamp Thing -- which would actually be awesome if History Channel brought that show back -- but Swamp People. Sometime five or ten years back, the History Channel morphed into the Red Neck Channel. 

Here are some more examples of current HC programming that I would consider to be targeting the Whiskey Tango demo. Now bear in mind, I haven't actually seen most of these shows, so I'm sort of just judging by their titles. Luckily, for most of these the title is all the evidence I need: American Pickers, Pawn Stars (I realize that this is an extremely popular show, but that doesn't make it any less white-trashy), Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy (see what I mean about the titles?), Mounted in Alaska (the show is about a taxidermist for crissakes), Ax Men, Dog Fights, Extreme Marksmen, Ice Road Truckers, Sharp Shooters, and The Real Face of Jesus? (yes, the question mark is included in the title). Add to those all of the Hitler bios and the histories of the Ku Klux Klan and you've got yourself the rootinest tootinest programmin' line-up on basic cable!

The cavalcade of Red State-oriented programs on the History Channel rolls on. The channel has recently announced that reality television impresario Mark Burnett will produce a five-part mini-series called The Bible. I know, I know, you guys were hoping for an adaptation of Todd Burpo's instant-classic Heaven is For Real, but The Bible will have to do for now. Burnett tells the New York Times that the new History Channel project will be the “most important project I have ever undertaken." What?! More important than Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Impossible.

My favorite part of the NYT interview with Burnett is that the reporter feels the need to point out to us that The Bible "will be scripted" and "a departure for Mark Burnett." As if we all expected to flip on the History Channel just in time to see Cain and Abel fighting over an Immunity Idol.

Burnett claims the idea to recreate The Bible came to him out of nowhere when he found a collection of golden plates sitting on a hill near his Upstate New York home. Wait, no, I think I'm getting Burnett's story mixed up with another one. Oh yeah, I remember now. Burnett's wife, actress Roma Downey, convinced him to take on the project. Ms. Downey has previous experience with faith-based television, having starred in CBS's based-on-a-true-story docu-drama, Touched by an Angel.

According to Burnett, the plan is to break The Bible into five, two-hour long, easily digestible segments. Each segment will feature two or three bible stories each. Since The Bible is so long and the project is merely a mini-series, Burnett will host a live singing contest, pitting Old Testament against New Testament, to determine which of your favorite biblical characters will make the cut. The contestants will be judged by a panel made up of Ron White, Jessica Simpson, and a guy that one time got his picture taken with Dale Earnhardt at a Bob's Big Boy. "A little pitchy, Jesus. Sorry, but you're out!" 

Okay, I have to admit that the last couple parts are just rumors. I haven't been able to confirm them... yet. Stay tuned!

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at, on Facebook and on Twitter at

More From Lucas High

"String theory is complicated, that's just yucky." - Sheldon
Read More
"Sometimes I'm like, 'How do I not O.D.?'" - Deanna
Read More
"We sell history." - Alex
Read More
1 Comment
On: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Looks like this will be another classic following along the lines of Chasing Mummies and Ancient Aliens !


Email (Will not be used):


characters left

Featured Articles

Popular Today


Recent Comments

Parks and Recreation: why is everyone so mean to Jerry?
I just finished the series on Netflix and can not wrap my mind around how he is treated. I never found humor in any of the scenes...
Swamp People, "It's Personal": men at work
Wow, very hard work , 1st they are hooked with a hook in there mouth , 2nd they come along with a shot gun and shoots it in the...
Stitchers: everything changes in the finale, "All In"
I think something is up with Nina--to me, it looked like something just occurred to her and she got up to go do it or find out about...
Stitchers: everything changes in the finale, "All In"
Am I the only one who thinks that something bad is going to happen to Nina based on the brief cut of her during Cameron's closing...
My Last Days: powerful documentary airs on the CW Network
I received a wonderful compliment from Justin Baldoni in regard to this article, he said, "Wow thank you for this beautiful article...
Hoarders: Buried Alive, "Stop Touching My Stuff!": my kind of clean
I have lost people greatly I've had severe depression since 12 I'm 43.luckily for me I was not a harder. This was the first show...
Hoarders: Buried Alive, "Stop Touching My Stuff!": my kind of clean
Poor kid has serious mental health issues!!! Haley needs help!!!
12 Monkeys: The end of the season is a "Memory of Tomorrow" and it'll blow your mind!
At this point, it's not what the writers CAN do with a time-travel story, it's what they will do to make it satisfying and legendary...
12 Monkeys: The end of the season is a "Memory of Tomorrow" and it'll blow your mind!
Cole could definitely use a collection of photos of everyone he's ever met to show to people, that's for sure! I don't know if they...