History Channel’s miniseries “The Bible” premiered to heavenly ratings, delivering 13.1 million viewers (and 4.6 million in the key Adults 18-49 demo) for its debut on Sunday night.
It also reigned as the #1 show of the night across the board, easily beating the broadcast networks, and now marks the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year to date. The total viewership increases to 14.8 million for the night when you add in the repeat airing.
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Those kind of numbers put it in league with History’s previous surprise ratings smash “Hatfields & McCoys,” which drew 13.9 million viewers for its premiere last summer. Pulling in nearly double the audience of the broadcast shows, “The Bible” thumped Trump — Sunday’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” (also produced by Burnett, by the way) season premiere drew just 5.2 million viewers, while ABC’s promo’d-to-death debut of “Red Widow” had 7.1 million viewers. Meanwhile, History’s first-ever scripted series, “Vikings,” which also premiered Sunday night, pulled in 6.2 million viewers (and 8.2 million for the night).
“Clearly, the passion for this project has resonated with our viewers and across the nation,” said Nancy Dubuc, President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks. “We are thrilled, and the story is only just beginning.”
“The Bible” comes from executive producers Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice”) and his TV actress wife Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”), who also stars as Mother Mary, along with Portuguese TV star Diogo Morgado as Jesus.
“We could not be more thrilled with this out of the gate success of THE BIBLE on HISTORY,” added Downey and Burnett in a statement. “The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series.”
This re-telling of the stories from “The Bible” reveals new insights into these iconic characters and will feature some of the most famous stories ever written from Noah’s Ark and the Exodus to Daniel in the Lion’s Den to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, according to the press release.
The miniseries will air four more installments every Sunday, concluding on Easter Sunday, March 31.
The second installment of “The Bible” airs on Sunday from 8-10 p.m./ET on History Channel.