PBS Announces "The Route to Christianity"

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Latest Series Marks Newest Collaboration Between
TMC Entertainment and PBS

ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY Will Travel to the Sites of the New Testament

PBS Press Tour, Pasadena, CA; July 26, 2006 - PBS senior vice president John F. Wilson announced today that PBS has given the go-ahead to a new series, THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY, coming from TMC Entertainment. The six-hour high-definition historical epic is a co-production of TMC Entertainment and Maya Vision International. Drew Levin, CEO of TMC Entertainment (FUTUREQUEST, "Cosmos: A Special Edition") will serve as executive producer, and Rebecca Dobbs (CONQUISTADORS, ALEXANDER THE GREAT), founder-director of Maya Vision International, will produce.

The project marks the fifth primetime collaboration between Levin and PBS, and follows on the heels of TMC's most recent project, the critically acclaimed WALKING THE BIBLE. It is the second co-production by TMC's Emmy Award-winning Drew Levin and Maya Vision's renowned Rebecca Dobbs. Telly Award winner Joan Meyerson will write and BAFTA winner David Wallace will direct.

"We are pleased to be working with TMC Entertainment on this second major collaboration on the books of the Bible," said John Wilson. "TMC's three-hour WALKING THE BIBLE, based on the Old Testament, was a huge hit with our viewers, both on broadcast and DVD. We are confident that THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY will do the same."

THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY will explore the historical origins of Christianity, from the teachings of one spiritual leader to the powerful force that spread throughout the Roman Empire. Distinguished theologian and presenter Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher will take viewers to the important sites of the New Testament, as well as to countries such as India, Turkey, Greece and England, as he reveals the diverse locations where Christianity began.

The series will follow "The Path of Jesus," from Jesus' early years in Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth and Jerusalem to his baptism in the Jordan River and his crucible of faith in the Judean Desert. The audience will then be told "A Tale of Two Cities" as THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY examines why the first churches were established in Antioch and Alexandria. The final segment, "The Book of Revelation," will document Jesus' appearance before John, where, in the Cave of the Apocalypse, Jesus gave John a job to do. John's work became known as the Book of Revelation, a document that intrigues readers to this day, with his letters to the seven churches in seven cities, which viewers will visit in the third episode.

THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY will be filmed entirely in high-definition and will begin principal photography in October throughout the Middle East, India and Europe.

"At TMC Entertainment, we are proud of our continuing relationship with PBS and pleased that they have responded so favorably to this exciting new series," said Levin. "In addition to being TMC's second co-production with Maya Vision's Rebecca Dobbs, THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY will be a full European-content production through TMC's recently established Belgium-based operating company, TMC Global Media," added Levin.

"We traveled 10,000 miles through four war zones to film WALKING THE BIBLE with our co-partner, TMC Entertainment," said Maya Vision's Dobbs, "and we look forward to co-producing this outstanding original documentary on the New Testament with TMC as well."

Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher, who will present the series, received his Ph.D from Oxford University. He is a Professor of Theological Studies and Director of The Peace Studies Minor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Dr. Smith-Christopher has 20 years of teaching experience and has been a biblical consultant and on-camera commentator on numerous television programs over the past 10 years.

THE ROUTE TO CHRISTIANITY is Levin's most recent project in his longstanding relationship with PBS. His extensive documentary and reality programs include FUTUREQUEST for PBS, for which he received an Emmy Award, as well as "Cosmos: A Special Edition," a critically acclaimed miniseries for the Chris Craft Station Group, hosted by the Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Carl Sagan and based upon the award-winning PBS series. Additional credits include "Hollywood Stuntmakers," "FX Masters," "Superstars of Action," "Mysterious Forces Beyond" and "World's Most Mysterious Places" for Discovery Networks and "Stephen King's World of Horror" for MTV.

TMC Entertainment has established itself as a leader in global television production and distribution. With a range of projects from documentary to reality-based series and specials, TMC is recognized internationally for its quality productions.

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.



Levine Communications: Alastair Duncan/Dawn Miller, 310/300-0950 ext. 234/231;

PBS: Carrie L. Johnson, 703/739-5129; cjohnson@pbs.org