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( — History Channel’s “The Bible” premiere delivered divine Nielsen ratings Sunday night, thumping all of the major broadcast shows.

The miniseries’ two-hour cable network premiere was seen by 13.1 million viewers and scored a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49. That’s more viewers and a higher demo rating than any show on the major broadcast networks last night and ranks as cable’s most-watched entertainment telecast this year. If you include the show’s repeat, the viewership rises to 14.8 million for the night.

“The success of ‘The Bible’ has catapulted History into one of the most powerful brands across media landscape and we could not be more thrilled and more proud,” Nancy Dubuc, president of A&E Networks. “Clearly there is a nationwide groundswell that was waiting for this moment … 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.”

“The Bible” couldn’t quite top History’s previous record-setting mini Hatfields & McCoys, however, which had a stunning 13.9 million viewers for its premiere last year. And last night’s 18-49 demo rating is almost certainly lower than AMC’s mega-hit “The Walking Dead” (those ratings will not be released until tomorrow), though “The Bible” very likely had more viewers.



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