US broadcast network CBS has commissioned a four-part miniseries set in first-century Israel from The Bible creator Mark Burnett (below) and his wife Roma Downey.
Burnett first told TBI he was working on what would be his third religion-themed scripted period drama earlier this year and CBS has now revealed this will be called The Dovekeepers. “We’re all about [new NBC mini] AD right now but we’re also looking at another scripted series around faith,” Burnett said at the time.
The mini is planned for broadcast in 2015 and is the first series from CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Studios recently created Limited Series and Event Programming unit. Burnett and Downey will executive produce the series and their LightWorkers Media imprint will coproduce, with CBS Studios International taking global distribution duties.
The Dovekeepers is based on a 2011 book from Alice Hoffman about four women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the Siege of Masada in 70AD. The event saw 900 Jews ensconced in a hilltop fortress battling Roman Empire soldiers, who were eventually successful.
“The Dovekeepers is a compelling, beautifully written novel that combines history and fiction into a timeless story of survival and heroism,” said Nina Tassler, president, CBS Entertainment.
Hoffman will be a consultant on the series, with CBS’s VP, limited series and event programming Stacey Mandelberg overseeing production.
CBS has made heavy bets on limited series this year and its original Under the Dome became the most-watched show of its kind for the summer season in two decades.
The Eye network will be hoping Burnett’s latest offering will do similar numbers to his first scripted show, The Bible, which drew in huge audiences for cable channel History and has spawned a theatrical reworking.
However, he chose to create its spiritual follow up AD: Beyond the Bible with History and later told TBI the decision had been “jump ball and a matter of what was the right deal for us financially and in terms of rights, and with whom we thought could make it a big event. History did a fantastic job with The Bible but they were cool about AD and understood that sometimes that’s how things go”.