May 29, 201204:39 PMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
'Hatfields & McCoys' Makes History
Did you watch Part 1 of Hatfields & McCoys Monday evening on the History cable network? Well, you certainly weren't alone if you did: According to Variety, the authoritative showbiz trade paper, the two-hour drama drew 13.9 million viewers in its initial telecast, making it the most-watched non-sports program in ad-supported cable history. And if you throw in the viewers who watched the encore telecast later Monday evening -- Hatfields & McCoys drew 17.7 million.
But wait, there's more: The two-hour Part 1 also did exceptionally well with the demographic groups most prized by advertisers: 4.8 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, and 5.8 million in the 25-54 demo.
The last record-holder on ad-supported cable? Crossfire Trail, a made-for-TV western starring Tom Selleck, which drew 12.5 million viewers when it aired on TNT in 2001.
DAY 2 UPDATE: The millions of folks who tuned in for Part 1 of Hatfields & McCoys must have liked what they saw Monday night -- 'cause on Tuesday night, according to the trade paper Variety, almost all of them came back for Part 2. Better still, from the perspective of the History cable network, Variety reports that there was "100% percent retention from night one to night two" of viewers in the advertiser-sought demographic groups of adults 25-54 and men 25-54. Notes Stuart Levine of Variety: "The two nights are now ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, as the most-watched ad-supported non-sports cable telecasts of all time."
DAY 3 UPDATE: Talk about saving the best for last: Just two nights after Part 1 of Hatfields & McCoys set a new ratings record for a scripted drama on ad-supported cable TV, Wednesday night’s climactic Part 3 of the History network miniseries broke that record by attracting an amazing 14.3 viewers.
Rick Kissell of the showbiz trade paper Variety reports that Hatfields & McCoys also set a new standard for basic cable dramas by drawing 6.3 million viewers in the adults 25-54 demographic.
“It did very well in the adults 18-49 demo too,” Kissell writes, “with its average [audience] of 5.1 million Wednesday (equating to a 4.0 national rating in the demo) lagging only the season finale of ABC's Grey's Anatomy -- TV's No. 1 drama in the category for the season -- among all scripted drama programs on television for the month of May.”
So how many days do you think will pass before we get word that History has green-lit another project that features Kevin Costner (and, possibly, other Hatfields & McCoys alumni) on horseback?