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'Hatfields & McCoys' shoots up record ratings for History

May 29, 2012 |  1:19 pm


If "Hatfields & McCoys" is any indication, viewers just can't get enough of old-fashioned feudin'.

History's three-part miniseries about the 19th century Appalachian clan war broke all records with its first installment Monday night with a gigantic 13.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. "Hatfields & McCoys" stars Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as patriarchs whose grudge match spans generations. Among adults aged 18 to 49, 4.8 million tuned in.

That made it the No. 1 non-sports telecast ever on an ad-supported cable telecast, as well as a pretty powerful validation of History's decision to leap into scripted dramatic programming.

"With all the success we have had at History, we felt strongly for some time that we should own historical drama," History president and general manager Nancy Dubuc said in a statement.

And here's maybe the most ominous sign for broadcast networks: History actually faced some competition for the night. And "Hatfields" shot holes in its rivals. The latest episode of NBC's "America's Got Talent" drew 10 million viewers, while ABC's "The Bachelorette" averaged just 5.8 million.

What did you think of "Hatfields"? Did the ratings surprise you?


Review: "Hemingway & Gellhorn"

Review: "Hatfields & McCoys"

Kevin Costner to star in "Hatfields & McCoys"

-- Scott Collins (

Photo: Kevin Costner, center, starred in History's high-rated "Hatfields & McCoys." Credit: Chris Large/History.