Kevin Costner's record breaking miniseries 'Hatfields & MCCoys' is likely to go down as one of the televisual highlights of 2012. The History Channel's first ever scripted program drew 13.9 million viewers on Memorial Day, with an average of 13.8 million across its three night run.

However, far more impressive was the 14.3 million viewers it pulled in for its final night, something "unheard of" for a multi-episode program, reports the Los Angeles Times. The show - with Costner at the helm - follows the battle of the brutal Hatfield and MCCoy families after the American Civil War. The legendary feud featured kidnappings, bombings and murders, and only came to an end in 2009 when ancestors of both families officially called a truce. The History Channel's president and general manager Nancy Dubuc was delighted with the reception, saying, "We felt like if we had two really kick-ass nights, a third would work because people would want to see how it ended.That's how it grew". Encouragingly for the History Channel, the gender split of the audience was 55 per cent male, 45 per cent female - its usual split is 70 per cent in favor of men. Though the series was essentially aimed at men, Dubuc explained, "It's a gruesome story and it's easy on the surface to judge it as a violent western.But it has these very emotional threads about love and protection of family, losing your children, which are very relatable".

The series also represents a return to form for Kevin Costner, and proves that he's still capable of pulling in big numbers. Perhaps television is the way for a man once considered one of the biggest actors in the world.