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NBC drama series features life of an Episcopal priest

An Episcopal priest played by Aidan Quinn is the focus of a new TV drama series starting Jan. 1 on NBC.

The Book of Daniel focuses on the Rev. Daniel Webster’s struggles with family, painkillers, church politics and Jesus, who he converses with as mentor and friend. Garrett Delahunt plays a “hip and modern” Jesus, according to NBC.

Ellen Burstyn plays Bishop Beatrice Congreve, a conservative prelate who often clashes with Webster. Phyllis Diller plays a member of the upstate New York congregation. The pilot for the new series  was shot in Pasadena, Calif., at All Saints Episcopal Church to the great delight of the congregation.

“How cool is it that a progressive Episcopal priest has a shot at being a prime-time drama protagonist,” says the Rev. Susan Russell, associate rector. “How surprising might it be to many who tune in to find out there actually is a church where women can be bishops – clergy can be human – and there’s enough good news around to extend to everybody?” NBC has ordered 13 episodes.