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'Hatfields & McCoys': Just how hot were those record ratings?

May 31, 2012 |  3:24 pm


“Hatfields & McCoys” fired off its last rounds with another ratings record. But it was nothin' compared with the old days of broadcast TV.

History’s three-part miniseries about the 19th century clan feud starring Kevin Costner, Tom Berenger and Bill Paxton drew 14.3 million total viewers for its final episode Wednesday, making it the most-watched scripted entertainment program in the history of basic cable TV, according to Nielsen.

In fact, all three parts of the miniseries now occupy the Top 3 spots in the cable record books. Monday’s premiere drew 13.9 million, while Tuesday’s middle chapter gathered a clan of 13.1 million.

Cable networks such as HBO now dominate miniseries, which broadcasters have all but abandoned. But records aside, the numbers are much lower these days than in the format’s glory days. The 1977 finale of ABC’s historical epic “Roots,” for example, was seen by more than 36 million viewers.

What did you think of the "Hatfields" finale? Would you like to see it as a series?

— Scott Collins (

Photo: Tom Berenger in History's "Hatfields & McCoys." Credit: Chris Large / History.