The record-breaking "Hatfields & McCoys," which has been pulling huge audiences to the cable channel History, took 30 years to get to television, with the project so old that Burt Lancaster was once slated to star in the role now played by Kevin Costner, reports the New York Post. Lancaster died in 1994.
"It took me 30 years of knocking on every door,” said executive producer Leslie Greif, the CEO and founder of Thinkfactory Media. “They’d say, ‘We love you, but don’t mention “Hatfields” again.’"
Greif, who co-created and produced the series "Walker, Texas Ranger," said, "They all passed: HBO, Showtime, Starz, TNT, TBS, USA, FX," the story reports. "I had this thing set up four different times and pitched it to every [broadcast] network … and every new regime over 30 years."
He said networks passed it over for a variety of reasons, including the belief that no one wanted to watch Westerns.
“All I heard was, ‘No one wants Westerns.’ ‘Miniseries are over.’ ‘There’s no financial model.’ ‘It will never sell overseas.’ ‘It skews too old and too male.’ Meantime, we’re killing with adults 18 to 49 and with women viewers,” Greif said. “I started pitching this when I was young and skinny and miniseries like ‘Roots,’ ‘Shogun’ and ‘The Thorn Birds’ were a staple of TV. It’s fun to be validated in my belief that this is a timeless tale.”
The miniseries has been shattering viewership records for ad-supported cable, as previously reported.