The History Channel miniseries portraying feud between the Hatfields & McCoys has scored huge ratings Monday night, May 28, drawing the channel’s biggest audience ever and reportedly one of the biggest in the history of cable TV.
Part one of the three-night miniseries drew 13.9 million viewers. According to published reports that was the biggest audience of the night on all of television by a wide margin — the closest competitor, “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, averaged just over 10 million people.
The miniseries also drew strong demographic numbers, scoring 5.8 million viewers among adults 25-54 and 4.8 million in adults 18-49.
“With all the success we have had at HISTORY, we felt strongly for some time that we should own historical drama, and in true HISTORY fashion, we have done it, with – pardon the pun – guns ablazin! We couldn’t be more proud of the entire cast and crew – this has been an amazing collaboration – from Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Mare Winningham, Powers Boothe, Tom Berenger, and everyone involved in truly making history!” said Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager, HISTORY.
Keith Davis, CEO of Woodland Press LLC, says national attention is being focused on the area.
“It’s exciting that ‘Feud-mania’ seems to be happening nationwide. I read today that the premiere scored a record 13.9 million viewers, so Logan and Mingo Counties have the public’s attention right now,” said Davis. “The miniseries storyline, which is a brutal account, is close to the historical record in most areas. Where dramatic license was taken, it seemed to make sense and was in keeping with propelling the plot forward effectively and efficiently. Perhaps my only disappointment with the film is its coarse language. Even so, the screenplay and the acting from Costner, Paxton, Berenger and others is absolutely superb. I hope the feud programming brings even more attention to our part of the Mountain State, and encourages local young people to know more about Appalachian history.”
Steven M. Stone, director of the Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield Historical Center located at Sarah Ann, said the miniseries’ account of the feud is realistic.
“Part I of the History Channel’s production of the Hatfields and McCoys that aired Monday is a most realistic portrayal of the literature accounts of the infamous Appalachian Blood Feud,” said Stone. “Kevin Costner breathes respectable life into his character, Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, patriarch of the Logan County Hatfields.”
Stone added that he found the “artistic liberties” of the writers enjoyable.
“As expected, the writers and creators of this mini-series took artistic liberties to effect the flow of the story. However, I found the content most accurate with accounts from published authorities and quite enjoyable,” said Stone. “If Parts II and III are of similar quality I suspect award nominations are forthcoming. The story of the Hatfields and McCoys has been told many times as factual history, fiction, song and parody, more often than not, with a demeaning unfavorable light casting shadow on Appalachian Mountain folk. This production tells a story delivering historical accuracy to the events that nearly brought war between West Virginia and Kentucky without condescension.”
Part II of the miniseries aired last night on the History Channel and Part III will air tonight. No viewer rating data was available on Part II of the miniseries.