MIDLOTHIAN, Texas — Brad Pelo, president and executive producer of the Angel Original historical drama “The Chosen,” defines success for the show a little differently.

Throughout his life, Pelo has worn many hats. When he was 16 years old and living in Orem, Utah, he told The New York Times, “I made up my mind in my preteen years that I was never going to be the normal middle-American person. I made up my mind I’d be everything from president of the United States to a millionaire tycoon.”

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Pelo was interviewed by the Times because he was a young entrepreneur, making video tapes of home listings for real estate agents in 1979. Since then, Pelo graduated from Brigham Young University and he has been the president and co-founder of Folio at Microsoft, a founding team member of Ancestry.com, CEO of i.TV and president of Radiant, among other positions.

“The Chosen” isn’t his first foray into being an executive producer. He’s done that before for the annual Stadium of Fire concert and the movie “The Legend of Johnny Lingo.”

After leading a set visit on “The Chosen,” Pelo sat down with the Deseret News to talk about what it’s like working on the show and the show’s success so far — in the way he sees it.

How Brad Pelo describes ‘The Chosen’

If Pelo had to choose three words to describe the show, he said he would choose: disruptive, playful and curiosity.

“I would describe the vision of ‘The Chosen’ as disruptive by virtue of the way we’re telling the story. I would say that it also is playful. I think we’re experiencing a Jesus that is meant to be our friend, is meant to be someone we would like to hang out with,” Pelo said.

“Then, I would also say that this vision of ‘The Chosen’ brings curiosity into the question,” Pelo added. It “invites us to reevaluate what his (Jesus’) life might mean to our life.”

In recent weeks, the show has proven to be disruptive. It was the first show to be granted an exemption from SAG-AFTRA to continue filming, and there’s been a TV Guide and Newsweek cover story. The show also got added to The CW Network’s broadcast show roster. The news about the CW picking up the show came after the announcement about the Lionsgate deal, which means Lionsgate will have the rights to distribute “The Chosen.”

“It’s all about distribution,” Pelo told the Deseret News. “We can create the story, but we’re very limited in our ability to put it onto the platforms.” He mentioned a handful of platforms used in the U.S. and used internationally.

“The broadcast and television networks are different, and we don’t have relationships with all of those people. Lionsgate does,” Pelo said. “So, our partnership with Lionsgate really opens the doors to all of those platforms around the world.”

What makes ‘The Chosen’ so successful?

When asked about what it means for the show to be successful, Pelo didn’t mention awards or ratings, he said, “We receive hundreds, literally thousands of emails from people telling us that this wasn’t the Jesus that they thought was out there.”

Some of the people who send these emails “didn’t grow up in faith knowing Jesus” and other people previously had negative assumptions about Jesus.

“And yet they’re experiencing something very different,” Pelo said. “That, to me, is success. We want people to know Jesus.”

Hearing this sentiment on the set of “The Chosen” isn’t out of the ordinary. “I genuinely don’t care about the multitudes,” Dallas Jenkins told the Deseret News in a prior interview. “I care about five and two. I care about making sure that the loaves and fish that I make are as good and pleasing to God as they can be. And everything after that is just a bonus.”

Why Pelo believes in portraying Jesus as welcoming in ‘The Chosen’

Pelo believes there’s power in Jonathan Roumie’s portrayal of Jesus as being “very welcoming and full of love.”

“Could I be more like that? Could we be more like that as a society, whether it’s in our churches or in our civic organizations?” Pelo said. He thinks seeing Jesus in this way can contribute to “the healing of the woundedness of the cultural divide.”

“So we really hope that we’re planting seeds,” Pelo said. “Whether you accept Jesus on his terms as the son of God, or whether you simply see the kind acts of a man and the healing, whether it’s miraculous or not to you, of lives.”

Pelo said he’s experienced this kind of seed-planting and subsequent change firsthand.

“Inevitably, as I walk away from that screen, for a period of time, I just want to be a better person. I really do. I want to feel the way I felt while watching the television show. I think that alone improves my psyche for the world in dealing with it.”

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‘The Chosen’ Season 4 release date

“The Chosen” Season 4 is expected to release in either January or February 2024. Jenkins said in a livestream, “Season 4 is actually coming in theaters” and “The Chosen” is looking to release all future seasons in theaters.