Published On: Mon, Mar 4th, 2013

‘The Bible’ starts strong on History Channel with over 13 million viewers, ‘Vikings’ gets 6 million

History Channel had a big Sunday night with the first episode of The Bible, the 10-hour miniseries, which debuted with 13.1 million viewers and 4.6 million adults 25-54 to rank as the No.1 cable entertainment telecast of the year

Jesus photo The Bible History ChannelIt was followed by the debut of the network’s first original scripted series, The Vikings, which rode The Bible‘s coattails to draw 6.2 million viewers, 2.5 million Adults 18-49 and 2.7 million Adults 25-54, beating the broadcast networks in the hour in the 18-49 demo.

The rollout is part of a new strategy by male-skewing History which is launching the bulk of its programming after the end of football season this year.

The success of The Bible, which averaged 4.6 million adults 25-54, proves the enormous potential of religious-themed entertainment programming aimed at Christian audiences.

GSN also has scored with its American Bible Challenge.

In its marketing campaign, The Bible, executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, employed some of the companies that helped make Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ a blockbuster, including doing grass-roots campaigning and gaining the support of prominent evangelicals.

“Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment,” said Nancy Dubuc, President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks. “We launched an incredible and coordinated campaign.” 

It will continue to air two-hour installments every Sunday, culminating with its conclusion on Easter Sunday.

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