Green light for John Paul miniseries

CBS television has given producers the go-ahead for a big-budget miniseries charting the life of the late Pope John Paul II, with guidance from the Vatican, the network said today.

According to Reuters, the four-hour, fact-based drama, tentatively titled Pope John Paul II, will chronicle the story of Karol Wojtyla from his youth in Poland through his more than 26-year reign as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The program is being made by the producers behind the network's hit miniseries Jesus, which aired several years ago and starred Jeremy Sisto in the title role and Debra Messing from the TV sitcom Will & Grace as Mary Magdalene.

No casting decisions on the pope project had been made, a CBS spokesman said. Principal production was set to begin in Rome in midsummer, with the miniseries expected to premiere as early as autum.

The script was written under the supervision of the Vatican, which also granted producers access to exclusive footage for the program in and around St Peter's Square, said CBS, which is owned by media conglomerate Viacom Inc.

"We're really doing this on a large scale," Bela Bajaria, senior network vice president for movies and miniseries, told the entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter.

"It's a fascinating story."

Green light for John Paul miniseries (news.com.au 17/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorced by Church Resources)
The Vatican | John Paul II
CBS Television

Italian TV shows Pope movie as Conclave begins (CathNews 19/4/05)
Religious dramas more popular than reality TV in Italy (CathNews 27/2/03)
New TV documentary on the Pope a "humdinger" (CathNews 8/1/03)

20 Jun 2005