This just in: People are interested in The Bible.
People are also interesting in Mark Burnett’s “The Bible,” which premiered on History Channel on Sunday (March 3) night.
The two-hour launch of History’s “The Bible” averaged a whopping 13.1 million viewers from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday night, making it the No.1 cable entertainment telecast of the year thus far. That audience for “The Bible” included 4.6 million viewers among adults 25-54 and swelled to roughly 14.8 million viewers including a reairing later in the night.
Not surprisingly, folks at History are excited about the number for the series, which was produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
“The success of ‘The Bible’ has catapulted History into one of the most powerful brands across media landscape and we could not be more thrilled and more proud,” blurbs Nancy Dubuc, President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks. “We are the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year to date! Leading into the premiere we had the best day ever on History.com, and ‘The Bible’ trended #1 on Twitter. Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment. We launched an incredible and coordinated campaign — History worked hand in hand with Roma and Mark and their talented team. An enormous debt of gratitude goes out to everyone and the amazing effort put forth to drive us to this amazing win. Clearly the passion for this project has resonated with our viewers and across the nation. We are thrilled, and the story is only just beginning.”
Dubuc had more to be pleased about, though.
The launch of “Vikings,” History’s first original scripted series, drew 6.2 million viewers, including 2.5 million among adults 18-49, in its 10 p.m. premiere. Including a later encore, “Vikings” drew 8.3 million viewers on its first night.
“‘Vikings’ is an incredible win for History – our first scripted series. We began this journey over six years ago, when we set sail to broaden the genre of History and now we are the only cable network to have achieved this amazing level of success in both nonfiction and scripted genres,” Dubuc blurbs. “People think they know the Vikings – but the reality is more complex. We knew our audience had an appetite for this unexpected storytelling and it was a big bet that paid off.”
It was the top cable series premiere of the year.
Not surprisingly, “The Bible” outdrew all Sunday night programming, even on the broadcast networks. While both “The Mentalist” and “Red Widow” outdrew “Vikings,” the Dark Age drama topped NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” premiere.