Kelsey Grammer to Play King Herod in ‘Killing Jesus’

Credit: Slider

In today’s piece of random and bizarre casting news: Kelsey Grammer has been cast as King Herod in National Geographic’s new show, Killing Jesus.

I’ll give you all a second to get your heads around that before I throw another curve ball: True Blood’s Stephen Moyer will play Pontius Pilate.

Killing Jesus is an adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book of the same name. Yes, that is the same Bill O’Reilly of Fox News fame. As the title would suggest, the show will detail the final few weeks in the life of Christ, a time of intense conflict and social unrest in Jerusalem and the politics within the Roman Empire which ultimately led to his death.

The four hour miniseries is steadily building quite the big name cast. Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor) will portray Jesus, which is never an easy task, with Rufus Sewell (Hercules) playing the high priest of Jerusalem, Caiaphas. John Rhys Davis (Indiana Jones) will play Annas, another Jerusalem high priest who first began to question Jesus’ teachings.

Credit: Henry Holt

The list goes on, all names that have been in well established films or TV shows and who will no doubt give quite the performance, but I am still stuck on Kelsey Grammer as Herod. Will he be funny? Because I have to be honest, I look at him and that’s all I think. The man is full of wit, and if he were cast in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical version, he would be very well suited to the role of Herod, who is portrayed as a comical character, but this? I am not so sure.

The National Geographic Channel has previously aired a production of O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy, which earned an Emmy nomination for Best Television Movie and became the most watched show in the channel’s history. The network’s second most watched show is Killing Lincoln, which aired in 2013.

Thanks to the success of History’s The Bible, religious shows are considered big ratings winners, but possibly only in the US. When the series aired on Channel 5 in the UK it drew minimal audiences and was fairly poorly received. Basically, we’re all a bunch of heathens over here, and the US will probably watch this miniseries diligently while we tune into a variety of soap operas. I can’t decide which is more preferable.

Personally, being a church going family, we did watch the first few episode of The Bible. I nearly puked at the graphic portrayal of Cain killing Abel, and the hubby fell asleep. We gave up after episode three.

No word on when Killing Jesus will air, but I would imagine it would be around Easter. So I shall stuff my face with chocolate eggs and give this one a whirl.