UPDATE: Viewership dropped off for the second night of “Texas Rising,” with Tuesday’s two-hour installment averaging 3.4 million viewers — down 17% from Monday’s 4.1 million. The miniseries saw steeper declines in key demos, falling 26% in adults 18-49 (from a 0.65 rating equating to about 825,000 viewers in the demo to a 0.48 rating, or about 610,000) and 22% in adults 25-54 (from a 0.95 rating equating to 1.14 million viewers in the demo to a 0.74 rating, or about 885,000).  Some of the decline, of course, could be attributed to DVR playback, with those numbers available next week.


“Texas Rising,” the 10-hour History miniseries, couldn’t come close to reaching the high-bar ratings standards set by the networks’ blockbusters like “Hatfields and McCoys” and “The Bible,” but nonetheless opened to a sizable audience on Monday night.

Nielsen estimates that the first two hours of “Texas Rising” averaged 4.1 million viewers overall, making it the calendar year’s second most-watched cable premiere, behind only AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” which bowed behind “The Walking Dead.” It also puts it ahead of other recent limited/event miniseries, including History’s “Houdini” last September (3.7 million), Discovery’s “Klondike” in January 2014 (3.4 million) and USA’s “Dig” in March of this year (1.8 million).

Still, Monday’s tune-in for “Texas Rising” was less than one-third of that for the opening night of History’s record-setting “Hatfields & McCoys” on Memorial Day in 2012 (13.9 million) and “The Bible” in March 2013 (13.1 million). “Texas” also skewed old, with only 1.1 million viewers falling in the net’s target 25-54 demo.

The series, which details the Texas Revolution and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, continues tonight with another two-hour installment. Its final six hours will then be played out over the next three Mondays (June 1, 8 and 15).

Roland Joffe directed “Texas Rising,” whose cast includes Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It is produced by A+E Studios, ITV Studios America and Thinkfactory Media. Leslie Greif serves as executive producer.  Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs serve as executives in charge of production.