History‘s latest event series The World Wars opened with an average audience of 3.4 million viewers on Memorial Day — 1.3 million in the adults 18-49 demo and 1.4 million adults 25-54. That’s no match for History’s Mark Burnett-produced event series The Bible, which gathered 13.1 million followers to its premiere in April 2013 — 4.6 million in the older demo. (When The Bible wrapped on Easter Sunday, an impressive 11.7 million were still watching that final round of the 10-part series.) In fairness, The Bible had the field pretty much to itself, unless you count ABC’s bajillionth repeat of The Ten Commandments and a couple other projects, but History’s The World Wars had to battle the traditional plethora of WWII-related programing in primetime on Memorial Day. The World Wars tells the story of three decades of war told through the eyes of various men who were its key players: Roosevelt, Hitler, Patton, Mussolini, Churchill, Tojo, DeGaulle and MacArthur. The series examines the two wars as one contiguous timeline starting in 1914 and concluding in 1945 with these unique individuals coming of age in World War I before ultimately calling the shots in World War II.
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