Their bloody family feud made headlines after the Civil War, and over a century later, the "Hatfields & McCoys" are making cable TV ratings history.
History's 3-part miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" (airing Tues. and Wed. at 9 p.m. ET) attracted 13.9 million viewers on its initial showing, and 17 million overall, with 4.8 million falling into the 18-49 category.
The impressive ratings represent cable's largest ad-supported non-sports audience ever, and are a huge win for History's foray into original historical drama.
“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 a-blazin!” network president Nancy Dubuc said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more proud of the entire cast and crew … from Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Mare Winningham, Powers Boothe, Tom Berenger, and everyone involved in truly making history!”
Before the release of "Hatfields & McCoys," star Kevin Costner told HuffPost TV that he was drawn to the series because he wanted to re-introduce the incident into popular culture, and remind modern audiences that it actually happened.
"I think that people think this is folklore, like maybe this is an imaginary event that happened," Costner said. "But no, this is real history. People went to court, governors were almost going to war, militias were amassing at the borders. This was not a folk tale. This was as real as could get. If you had CNN back then, they would have been sitting on some hilltop watching this. This was big doings if you think about."
Tune in to parts 2 and 3 of "Hatfields & McCoys," airing on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 p.m. on History.