Few expected the History Channel’s epic 10-hour miniseries, The Bible, to be a ratings bonanza. But following its two-hour premiere Sunday, March 3, the numbers were huge. In all, 13.1 million viewers, with almost half ranging from ages 18 to 49, tuned into The Bible. And, for those who watched, the narrator Keith David was probably a familiar voice.
Perhaps one of the hardest working actors in the business, David is rarely unseen. Most recently, audiences have enjoyed him on TV One’s Belles as William “Big Bill” Cooper, the patriarch of the Cooper family who runs his late wife Belle’s soul food restaurant in Atlanta.
But David’s voice has been equally popular. He has narrated several documentaries, including Jazz and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. Plus he’s lent his voice to video games like Halo 2 and Halo 3. So, narrating The Bible was very much in his lane. Still The Bible is special for him.
“It wasn’t difficult for me because I believe in God,” he says. “I believe in the Bible and so I just embraced the spirit of the story being told.” In fact, David, who has played several ministers, including one recently in Lifetime’s Pastor Brown, another spiritual ratings surprise, wanted to be a minister at one time.
Although these days he’s not standing in a pulpit, he sees the need for spiritual nourishment all around him. “I think we’re in a time in our history where people are hungry for spiritual answers,” he explains. “[There’s] more spiritual death in our society at large. In this political climate that we’re in here in America, [they’re] trying to take God out of the schools, out of public places and where you find an absence of God, you find things like that last school shooting. That’s what happens as the result of trying to take God out of schools.”
And, for David, this is why The Bible scored big.—ronda racha Penrice
The Bible airs on the History Channel Sundays at 8/7c until March 31, Easter Sunday.