America, you’re doing it right! And proving so many wrong. Worry that the majority of TV audiences simply wanted to watch dancing C-list celebrities and Ashton Kutcher explaining why he got a haircut on Two and a Half Men (that’s what happens on that show, right?) is starting to subside. It’s now clear that if you build an understated, American epic, they will come.
According to Deadline
, after breaking the record for the largest non-sports telecast in ad supported cable television history with a whopping 13.9 million viewers during its Memorial Day debut, History’s Hatfields & McCoys
miniseries broke its own record on May 30 with an even more whopping 14.3 million viewers during its third and final installment. No one saw the first ratings record coming, so the fact that the series not only maintained but gained viewers is a major boon for History, as is the fact that these numbers make Hatfields
the highest rated cable miniseries since 1998.
To put these numbers in context (in case you’ve been scratching your head and wondering why we’re so surprised that so many people parked their kiesters in from of the History Channel three nights in a row) other wonderfully understated TV dramas like Breaking Bad, Mad Men
, and Game of Thrones
rarely break the three or four million viewer mark. Yes, more than four times the usual audience of a pop culture phenomenon — or Mad
ness, if you will — flipped their clickers to watch Bill Paxton
and Kevin Costner
as dueling patriarchs for a grand total of almost five hours. If that’s not wonderfully shocking, then you might not be as obsessed with TV as we are.
Hatfields & McCoys has concluded as a mini-series, but you can watch episodes on History.com.
Were you one of the 14.3 million people tuned in? Was the conclusion worth the commitment?