New York City, NY—October 29, 2015—NBC and Sony Pictures TV have inked a development deal for a weekly one-hour drama series based on the sequel to the runaway #1 New York Times bestseller, Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, according to Rick Christian, president of Colorado Springs-based Alive Literary Agency, which represents the authors.
“The first script has been ordered, and we’re reprising the same production team of Joe Roth, T.D. Jakes and DeVon Franklin who spearheaded Tri-Star’s “Heaven Is For Real” motion picture last year that earned more than $100 million on a budget of $12 million. It’s a proven team, and I’m thrilled to see the franchise expand from books to film and now to television, enabling a message about the hope of heaven to reach untold millions more via this mega-partnership,” Christian said.
“We are doing significantly more business in the film and TV space, and have another TV series that will be announced later this year,” he reported. “In addition, we have three Karen Kingsbury films in production with Hallmark, the Paramount adaptation of Same Kind of Different as Me launches next spring, and numerous others have been scripted and are close to final green lights with various indie production groups.”
“Dozens more properties are on deck as we mine the dramatic rights we’ve withheld for more than 25 years,” Christian said. “Alive has a backlist of some 5,000 fiction and nonfiction titles, and with the growing openness to inspirational works in Hollywood, we’re making hay while the sun shines via our co-agency relationship with Paradigm Talent Agency, one of Hollywood’s major players in both the scripted and unscripted space. Our clients benefit hugely from their extensive connections and ability to quickly flip from pitch meetings to executed deals. Plus, many of our authors and I are now being accorded producer credit, thus ensuring their content is recognizable on screen.”
Heaven is for Real is the true story of 3½-year-old Colton Burpo, who almost died during an emergency appendectomy. Several months later he began revealing details of a visit to heaven—including events of his family’s life and history that he couldn’t have possibly known or imagined. The book was published by Thomas Nelson, sold more than 12 million copies, and anchored the New York Times bestseller list for more than 200 weeks, including an amazing run of more than a year in the #1 slot.
That title was followed by Heaven Changes Everything: The Rest of Our Story, from which the upcoming NBC series will be created. In this book, Todd and Sonja Burpo share more details about their family life and Colton’s visit to heaven that they weren’t able to include in the original story or the movie.
Screenwriter Randy Brown (Trouble with the Curve) will write and executive produce the show in consultation with Christian and the Burpos. The series is about a small-town pastor who must find the courage and faith to continue leading his congregation and family while dealing with the overwhelming worldwide attention—both positive and negative–concerning his son’s visit to heaven.