Joe Alblas / History
"The Bible" was a television ratings miracle when the History Channel miniseries premiered on Sunday.
With 13.1 million tuning in to the five-part docudrama's debut, "The Bible" smote the competition -- including the networks -- and became cable's most-watched program this year.
"Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people -- Moses and Abraham -- in one day than ever before," said Mark Burnett and his wife and producing partner Roma Downey in a History Channel statement.
But the über-producer isn't taking all the credit for "The Bible's" miraculous success.
"The hand of God was on this," Burnett told EW. "The edit came together perfectly, the actors came together perfectly, it just comes to life."
Divine intervention or no, the "Survivor" producer did point out that "weird things happened during filming."
For example, just when the actor playing Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit is like the wind," "a wind, like as if a 747 was taking off, blew his hair, almost blew the set over and sustained for 20 seconds across the desert," recounted Burnett. "Everyone just looked at everyone like, 'What just happened?'"
Another incident, after Jesus' costume went missing during a baptism scene, is reminiscent of the gift of the Magi.
"Four days later, a kid showed up from many, many, many miles away, who had been seeking us through the desert to return this to us," Burnett enthused. "He didn't know what it was or why he should seek us, but he felt he had to return it."
But Burnett's most shiver-inducing story involves nearly 50 serpents crashing the crucifixion scene.
"We had a snake wrangler every day on the set. I mean, we've got a couple hundred people shooting, and we can't afford to have people getting bitten by snakes. Every day, this guy would find a snake or maybe two snakes, and remove them. [But] on the day of the crucifixion … he found 48 cobras and vipers hidden within the rocks around the cross."
Miracles or good luck -- what do you believe? And are you watching "The Bible"? Tell us on our Facebook page!
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