March 4, 2013

THE SKED: “The Bible” Fills Pews For History Channel; “Vikings” Stalwart


There’s always an audience for some stories, and while History Channel’s miniseries distillation of THE BIBLE from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey wasn’t quite at the network’s Hatfields & McCoys level of blockbuster success, it was–pardon the expression–damn close.  Hatfields was watched by 13.9M people in its premiere, 4.8M of them 18-49, while Bible had 13.1M total viewers in its initial airing.  History only provided 18-49 numbers for the combined 8PM and 11PM airings for Bible, where it had 6M viewers in the demo (total viewers climbed to 14.8M with both airings combined). The Bible outrated everything on network television last night, and may well have beaten The Walking Dead in total viewers, although barring a miracle, the zombies will carry the demo.

VIKINGS, History’s first regular scripted series, only held on to about 45% of Bible‘s audience with 6.2M total viewers at 10PM, but that was still more people than watched NBC or FOX last night.  Its 2.5M 18-49 viewers beat all the broadcast networks in the 10PM hour.  (Its numbers went up to 8.3M total viewers and 3.4M 18-49s with the night’s second airing included.)

All this, of course, just underscores yet again the increasingly precarious place of network television in the new home entertainment environment, as the habit of assuming broadcasters are viewers’ first choice is fading fast.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."