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'The Chosen' Surpasses 'Riverdale', 'Nancy Drew' in Popularity on CW Network Premiere

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The groundbreaking historical TV drama about the life of Jesus continues to grow in popularity with viewing audiences – this time outperforming shows like Riverdale and Nancy Drew in its debut on the CW Network.

As CBN News reported, the CW Network began airing "The Chosen" on broadcast television Sunday, July 16th.

The first episode pulled in 520,000 viewers during the premiere, "a far mightier audience" than the 200,000 viewers who watched "Riverdale" and the 400,000 viewers who watched "Nancy Drew", TV Line reported. 

"The Chosen is based on the biggest IP of all time and is truly a one-of-a-kind series that tells this historically significant story in a captivating, dramatic, and premium way," commented Brad Schwartz, president of Entertainment for The CW Network. "This show has already connected deeply with viewers around the world, and The CW will expand its audience even further."

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"The Chosen" is the largest crowd-funded media project in history and is a global phenomenon. Based on the biblical gospels, it is set against the backdrop of Roman oppression of the Jewish people in first-century Israel. The show shares an authentic and intimate look at Jesus' revolutionary life and teachings.

Since season one, it has taken the faith-based film industry by storm having been streamed more than 500 million times and has now been seen by more than 108 million people.

The highly-anticipated fourth season began production in April at the series' home in Midlothian, Texas,  but the ongoing Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (SAG-AFTRA) strike almost jeopardized it. 

"Unfortunately, despite the requested work we did on our end, an exemption for us will not be granted in time to avoid a shutdown," shared Dallas Jenkins, the series director and creator, last week. "We will do a little filming tomorrow of everything that doesn't require our cast, and then we'll wait and hope that either the strike ends (unlikely soon), or that we're granted an exemption and can resume filming." 

Dallas continued, "Yes, it's upsetting and will cost time and money…but we bring our five loaves and two fish. God handles the rest."

The SAG, however, gave the production company the green light Sunday to finish shooting after Dallas pleaded with the organization for a waiver. 

"What Jenkins has done with the show is make the story of Jesus accessible to the faithful and non-faithful alike by concentrating on the characters of the story and making them real people," Television critic Joel Keller explained. "...' The Chosen' takes the stance that the story of Jesus involved real and fallible characters. And that is what makes the show an entertaining story instead of a didactic narrative."

The series will run through Christmas Eve on the CW Network. It is also available to watch for free on The Chosen App or the Angel Studios App. And it can be viewed on other popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.