National Geographic Channels International and Sky Vision are joining forces to make a miniseries about Jesus and the rise of Christianity.
Jesus: Rise to Power is one of a trio of coproductions NGCI has just unveiled. The other two are one-hour film Bones of the Buddha with UK indie Icon Films and feature-length doc Ultimate Tutankhamun with Dan Chambers’ production firm Blink Films.
Jesus: Rise to Power will run to three parts and chart the rise of Christianity against a backdrop of political instability, power struggles and a relentless string of persecutions. Roman history expert Dr. Michael Scott will travel to the deserts and the cities of the ancient world to reveal the events that formed the backbone of Christianity.
The commission of the factual miniseries comes after the huge success of The Bible, the part-scripted series about the holy book, which is delivering huge ratings for History. Jesus: Rise to Power will be coproduced with Sky Vision, which is expected to handle international sales. It will bow on Nat Geo in the US and around the world in late March. Both Sky Vision and Nat Geo are ultimately controlled by News Corp.
Ultimate Tutankhamun, meanwhile, will be hosted by Egyptologist Chris Naunton and examine evidence that the Boy King’s mummified body spontaneously combusted due to unusual embalming methods, and show how modern forensic accident reconstructions and bone tests reveal a likely cause of death.
Bones of The Buddha will explore the discovery of a huge stone coffer containing five ancient soapstone jars, one which allegedly contains the remains of Buddha.
“These three new specials – each uniquely geared at offering a comprehensive look at some of the ancient world’s most enduring stories – bolster NGCI’s programming schedule with the exact touchstone programming that fascinates our viewers,” said Hamish Mykura, executive vice president and head of international content for NGCI.