'Ten Commandments'--Made in 1956--Wins Nielsen Ratings

Michael W. Chapman | April 22, 2014 | 11:51am EDT
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Actor Charlton Heston (1923-2008) as "Moses" in the 1956 film, "The Ten Commandments." (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – “The Ten Commandments,” a movie made 58 years ago starring the conservative Charlton Heston as “Moses,” and which is broadcast by ABC every year at Easter, won the Nielsen ratings for adult viewers ages 18-49 and for total viewers on Saturday, April 19, pulling in 5.87 million viewers and beating NBC, FOX and CBS.

“The Ten Commandments” was broadcast by ABC from 8-11PM ET on the night before Easter and during the Jewish observance of Passover (Apr. 14-22). The 1956 movie, filmed in Technicolor and shown every year since 1973 as part of ABC’s Movie of the Week programming, tells the Biblical story of Moses and his deliverance of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery – the Exodus.

Charlton Heston (1923-2008), who plays the lead character, was a liberal early in his career but became more conservative in the 1980s, campaigning for Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and serving as president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003.

In 2013, “The Ten Commandments” on ABC drew 5.9 million viewers, and in 2012 it garnered 6.9 million viewers.  This year, with an audience of 5.87 million, the movie easily beat NBC’s Dateline Saturday Mystery (4.49 million viewers), FOX’s UFC: Werdum vs. Browne (1.99 million watchers), and CBS’s Mike & Molly show (2.2 million).

As the evening continued, “The Ten Commandments” still garnered the largest total audience, beating out CBS’s Criminal Minds (2.86 million viewers), CBS’s 48 Hours (5.49 million), and NBC’s Saturday Night Live (2.79 million).

ype="node" title="1956 Movie Starring NRA-Hero Charlton Heston Wins Nielsen Ratings on Easter Eve

Commenting on “The Ten Commandments” ratings, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said “what was most telling was how it creamed the religious fare shown on the Travel Channel and the Science Channel.”

The Travel Channel showed “Greatest Mysteries: Holy Land,” which included a segment on the Shroud of Turin and “the audience was asked to consider whether the cloth’s impression was the face of Leonardo da Vinci,” said Donohue. In another segment, “we learned that Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was actually his best buddy,” he said.

The Science Channel showed a program on the non-canonical “Gospel of Mary,” which argued that “the male-dominated Church did not want to deal with a woman (who may have been the leader of the apostles!),” said Donohue, while a second program “called into question many Biblical accounts of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.”

“It is striking that a Christian-themed entertainment movie offers a more accurate historical account of the Bible than programs that purport to be scientific,” said Donohue.  “It only goes to show that the average American is a lot smarter than the elites who seek to manipulate them.”

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