The 'Good Book' makes big TV: History's 'The Bible' pulling huge ratings

While Hollywood might not get it...millions of television viewers apparently do.

History Channel's mini-series, "The Bible", has proven to be a big ratings boon for the network...posting big numbers in its first two showings.

So big in fact, that the series debut back on March third was the most watched cable show, not only for History, but for all of cable TV so far this year.

13.1-million people tuned into episode one...and the second installment, which aired this past Sunday, pulled in 10.8-million.

The series is produced by husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Burnett is the creator of the hit show "Survivor"...while wife Downey came to fame from a previous religious ratings hit, "Touched by and Angel".

The show's big numbers comes as a surprise to many, as Washington Times reporter Daniel Wattenberg points out, "Itâ??s not as if â??The Bibleâ?? got any help from TV critics. Its Metacritic scores averaged just 44, the low end of the â??mixed reviewsâ?? range as measured by the review aggregation site."

Outside of some the "epic" movies from the golden days of Hollywood...journeys into The Bible have been few and far between.

But with the success of a more recent full-scale Hollywood movie, "The Passion of the Christ" one can wonder why TV and movies aren't looking closer at Biblical story lines. To date "Passion" has raked in over $600-million worldwide.

at Businessweek points out that the ratings wins have a lot to do with how the movie was marketed...directly to faith-based groups.

"The producers linked up with faith-based groups, distributed study guides, and previewed the series at churches. They courted big-name evangelical figures." writes Ebiri..."Judging by the showâ??s initial popularity, its marketers deserve a prodigal feast."

Have you watched any of "The Bible" mini-series? Are you surprised by its ratings? Should Hollywood be doing more faith-based movies and TV shows?