(Photo: Grace Hill Media)
The highly anticipated 10-hour miniseries "The Bible" hit the ratings jackpot on Sunday when it premiered on the History Channel, garnering over 13 million viewers in the U.S., making it the No. 1 scripted program on television.
"The Bible" miniseries, created by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, earned a 6.7 household rating/10 share on Nielsen Ratings' overnight report, according to Variety, thus beating CBS' "The Good Wife" and even CBS' "60 Minutes," which came out on top for the broadcast networks with 11.9 million.
Additionally, for much of last night, the television show was trending on both Twitter and Google.
According to a statement issued by Nancy Dubuc, president of Entertainment and Media at the A&E Networks, which owns the History Channel, "The Bible" is now the number one cable entertainment telecast of the year 2013.
"The success of 'The Bible' has catapulted [the History Channel] into one of the most powerful brands across media landscape and we could not be more thrilled and more proud," Dubuc said in a recent statement.
"We are the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year to date! Leading into the premiere we had the best day ever on History.com, and 'The Bible' trended #1 on Twitter. Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment," Dubuc continued.
"We launched an incredible and coordinated campaign – [the History Channel] worked hand in hand with Roma and Mark and their talented team. An enormous debt of gratitude goes out to everyone and the amazing effort put forth to drive us to this amazing win. Clearly the passion for this project has resonated with our viewers and across the nation. We are thrilled, and the story is only just beginning.".
Sunday's airing of "The Bible" took viewers from the very beginning of biblical teaching to the Ten Commandments, and will pick up where it left off next Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.
The show was produced by Hollywood power couple Mark Burnett, who previously produced "Survivor" and "Celebrity Apprentice," and his actress wife, Roma Downey, of "Touched by an Angel."
"We could not be more thrilled with this out of the gate success," said Downey and Burnett in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.
"The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series. This No. 1 series is a tribute to all those who have helped us to spread the Word. Ultimately 'The Bible' will be seen and felt by billions around the globe … Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people – Moses and Abraham – in one day than ever before," the couple added.
When previously speaking with The Christian Post, Downey called the miniseries a "passion project" for herself and her husband.
"I've loved Jesus all my life," Downey told The Christian Post. "It's a passion project for Mark and myself."