Roma Downey’s ‘The Bible’ has drawn near record audiences for The History Channel. She and her husband, Mark Burnett of ‘Survivor’ fame, are sitting on a huge hit despite mediocre reviews.

The much debated programme and Gabriel Byrne’s ‘Vikings’ show have proven massive hits for the satellite channel. reports that the odd coupling of “The Bible” and “Vikings” delivered big ratings for The History Channel.

The series premiere of ‘Vikings’ landed 6.2 million total viewers.

The premiere of  ‘The Bible’ from 8 to 10 p.m. drew 13.1 million total viewers.

The report says this rivalled last year’s finale of the History miniseries ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ which drew a massive 14.3 million total viewers.

With a second telecast factored in, ‘The Bible’ averaged 14.8 million total viewers for the night.
Some five million of them are in the advertiser-preferred 18-49 demographic with 5.6 million of them in the 25-54 demo.

In a statement, executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett said: “We could not be more thrilled with this out of the gate success of ‘The Bible’ on History.

“The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series.”

Byrne’s ‘Vikings’ meanwhile, drew 6.2 million total viewers with its 10 p.m. premiere, and 8.3 million with a second airing factored in.

The report adds that over the two airings, the first instalment of ‘Vikings’ pulled in 3.4 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic and 3.8 million in the 25-54 demo.

History Channel executives are naturally delighted.

 ““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.”

Here's an extended look at the History Channel's "The Bible":

Still from Roma Downey and Mark Burnett's mini-series "The Bible" on the History ChannelHistory Channel