The devil appears in many forms, and offers many temptations. Sex, fame, glory—or an enduring, top-rated reality show like Survivor, and a well-received miniseries like The Bible. Yes, the devil in this instance is producer Mark Burnett, who, along with partner Roma Downey, has struck a deal with ABC in exchange for a few piddling immortal souls to mount a series based on Faust. And with it, they shall have the religious Nielsen families who flocked to The Bible, and are expected to line up, two by two, for follow-up A.D.
Faust is an oft-retold German story of a successful but unhappy scholar who sells his soul for unlimited knowledge and riches, but after 24 years of happiness and success, is dragged away by the devil to spend eternity in a lake of fire. In Survivor terms, this represents life on the island, and destruction and torment pretty much everywhere else.
However, the greatest sin associated with ABC’s retelling may be just how far Burnett and his earthly minions are straying from the story. The series is being described as a “faith-based medical procedural,” which pretty much reduces the list of non-procedural shows on network television to Glee and The Price Is Right. CSI: Hades will center on a Washington, D.C. surgeon who has to deal with the consequences of a deal he made with “a diabolical stranger from his past.” (Could the stranger be the dude who sold him Adderall to help him get through med school? Time will tell.)
The show’s script comes from an unlikely source—not the blood-tipped pen of Old Scratch himself, but purveyor of wholesomeness Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, stepping away from his other jobs as Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics and developing the slightly-less-demonic Archie adaptation Riverdale for Fox. Burnett and Downey are also making sure their hands don’t stay idle, currently producing The Women Of The Bible for Lifetime, The Dovekeepers for CBS, guardian angel drama Unveiled for NBC, and a limited series for TLC about people who claim to have experienced divine intervention.