'Hatfields & McCoys' makes ratings history for History Channel
Part one of the three-night miniseries, which chronicles the infamous 19th century feud between two families, drew 13.9 million viewers. That was the biggest audience of the night on all of television by a wide margin -- the closest competitor, "America's Got Talent" on NBC, averaged just over 10 million people.
The History channel also says that excluding sports, "Hatfields & McCoys" is also the most-watched single broadcast on ad-supported cable ever, which isn't quite true: A 1993 edition of "Larry King Live" featuring Al Gore and Ross Perot debating NAFTA drew more than 16 million viewers. (A History rep says its figures date back to the channel's founding in 1996.)
The previous record for non-sports/non-news program on cable, incidentally, belonged to TNT's 2001 movie "Crossfire Trail," which drew 12.5 million viewers.
Regardless of where "Hatfields and McCoys" may fall in the all-time cable rankings, it's still a huge audience. The miniseries also drew strong demographic numbers, scoring 5.8 million viewers among adults 25-54 and 4.8 million in adults 18-49.
"Hatfields and McCoys," which stars Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger, Mare Winningham, Matt Barr, Jena Malone and Powers Boothe, continues Tuesday and Wednesday night on History.