TV Musical About Jesus: Tyler Perry Gets Green Light
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Move over, Wiz. Jesus is coming through.

According to reports, Fox has ordered a two-hour live musical event hosted and narrated by Tyler Perry called The Passion. The story centers around the final hours of Christ’s life on Earth.

[Related: Tyler Perry to Release First-Ever Animated Madea Film]

The Passion follows a modern-day Jesus of Nazareth during the Last Supper and includes elements of the Biblical story such as his betrayal by Judas, trial by Pontius Pilate, his crucifixion, and resurrection. It’s set in New Orleans and the network is planning for a March 20 broadcast to coincide with Palm Sunday.


The Passion is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational,” David Madden, president of entertainment at Fox told reporters. “We are so thrilled to have the multi-talented Tyler Perry join us for this epic music production. He is the perfect host to lead the cast – and viewers – through the streets of New Orleans in this contemporary re-telling of a timeless story.”

There has been a Dutch version of The Passion produced annually since 2011, and that version has aired for the last five consecutive years, commanding a 46% market share in 2015, according to Deadline.

Fox is joining what looks to be a lucrative trend after NBC saw success with recent live musicals including Peter Pan Live!, The Sound of Music Live!, and most recently, rating-winner The Wiz Live!.

Tyler Perry has been a longtime faith-based businessman, having produced plays and films that incorporate Christian messages, imagery, and values. Last year, he trademarked the popular phrase, “What Would Jesus Do (WWJD),” and his latest Madea-starring animated film project, a character whose comical, in-your-face motherly advice often centers around her belief in Christ, is set for release in January.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.