Originally published in Faithwire
With some of the most popular shows on streaming platforms costing upwards of $10 million (R145 million) per episode, it’s a real come-from-behind success story to see the faith-based drama The Chosen earning north of 400 million streams on a budget of around $22 million (R319 million) total.
It’s even more impressive when you consider the show, which just ended its second season, is available for free to anyone who wants to watch it.
Derral Eves, executive producer of The Chosen, recently told Faithwire the decision to air the wildly popular series free of charge was prompted by what he called a “Red Sea moment”.
“Every time along the project, we hit a wall,” he said. “It’s what we call a ‘Red Sea moment.’ It’s the moment we get to the Red Sea, we look behind us, you know, here’s Egypt’s army coming to attack us, and we just can’t go anywhere.
“So we have to rely upon God to part the Red Sea so we can go forward,” he continued, referring to Exodus 14, which chronicles Moses’ journey leading the Israelites out of Egypt. “We just kind of had a ‘Red Sea moment.’ We’ve become very sensitive, where we can’t go any further, and we’re very prayerful and looking for all the options.”
Earlier on in the interview, Eves said he, show creator Dallas Jenkins, and the rest of the team at The Chosen realised that “if it’s a story about Jesus, it needs to go out to the world”.
The producer said choosing to stream the show for free was “a very disruptive idea” and “the right idea to get it out to a billion people in every country, because that’s the only way you could do that.”
The breakout phenomenon has been disruptive in just about every way possible. Having wrapped its second season in early July, The Chosen has solidified its spot as the first multi-season show about the life and ministry of Jesus.
Its season two finale, which was simulcast on Facebook, YouTube, and The Chosen app, debuted on July 11 to the kind of reception Eves said he didn’t anticipate until the end of season three, which has reached 56% of its funding goal.
Eves described working on the show — which boasts a 9.6 out of 10 rating on IMDb — as “a tough three and a half years but one of the most rewarding three and a half years that I’ve ever had.”
“I’m able to see moments of frustration but also moments of clarity when we actually see miracles come into this project,” he said. “And we’ve had miracle after miracle. There’s no denying that.”
Although it took some time, Eves explained that things really began falling into place once everyone on the team realised “we’re not in control of the ship.”
“It makes it a little bit easier to crawl on glass, because that’s what we do,” the producer said. “We crawl on glass, but we realise it’s not us that’s leading it. There’s always something bigger or better, there’s a new opportunity that we haven’t even thought of, because we’re not smart enough to figure out everything. When we recognise those moments, and we celebrate those moments, and we praise those moments, that’s [what] gives us the most strength that we could ever have, because we can feel God’s love.”
The entire show including the latest episodes is available for free on The Chosen app.
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