Tv mogul Mark Burnett's new religious epic The Bible set cable Tv records in America when it debuted on Sunday night (03Mar13).

The first episode of the 10-hour History Channel mini-series, which races through the stories from The Bible, was the highest-rated cable show of the year (13), bringing in 13.1 million viewers.

The figures fell 800,000 short of the network's record-setting 2012 drama Hatfields & MCCoys, which starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the patriarchs of feuding post American Civil War families.

Thrilled Burnett, who predicted The Bible will eventually be seen by more than a billion people around the world, says, "We could not be more thrilled with this out-of-the-gate success. The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series.

"More people are discussing God’s chosen people - Moses and Abraham - in one day than ever before."