CBS has ordered "The Dovekeepers," a four-hour miniseries event based on Alice Hoffman's historical novel about four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada. The miniseries, which is planned for broadcast in 2015, is the first project from CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Studios' recently announced Limited Series and Event Programming unit.
Hoffman's novel was first published in 2011 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, earning the New York Times
' bestseller status and widespread critical acclaim.
"The Dovekeepers" will be brought to television from executive producers Roma Downey and multiple Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett ("Survivor," "The Voice"), the production team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries "The Bible," which scored big ratings for the History Channel last March, and the upcoming feature Son of God
, being released by 20th Century Fox on Feb. 28.
In addition to its broadcast on CBS, the miniseries will be distributed to countries around the world by CBS Studios International.
Set in ancient Israel, "The Dovekeepers" is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The miniseries will recount the unfolding events from the perspective of four extraordinary women who arrive at Masada independently and with unique backstories, but who share a common bond for survival.
"'The Dovekeepers' is a compelling, beautifully written novel that combines history and fiction into a timeless story of survival and heroism," said Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment. "We're thrilled to be working with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett to bring Alice Hoffman's epic saga to life. Mark and Roma possess an amazing passion for telling biblical stories and for producing entertaining television on an event scale."
"We are excited to get to turn this bestselling novel by Alice Hoffman into an epic miniseries that will be a major television event on CBS," said Roma Downey. "This novel is a testament to the human spirit and how love can rise from the ashes of war. It is, quite simply, an amazing story of heroism and hope, and a story that must be seen not just with the eyes but felt with the heart."
"I am thrilled that my novel 'The Dovekeepers,' produced by Roma Downey, who I so admire for her vision and strong commitment to the stories of women of the ancient world, will be at CBS with Nina Tassler, who is dedicated to storytelling at the highest level," added Alice Hoffman, who will also serve as a consultant on the miniseries.