History enjoyed ratings success with Vietnam in HD's launch even as the network continued efforts to collect images of every person named on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
The debut of Vietnam in HD on Tuesday, Nov. 8, earned 2.1 million total viewers, an increase of more than 20% among all demographic categories vs. the 2011 Tuesday 9-11 p.m. time period, the network said.
The final two hours premiered Thursday night. The entire six hours will re-air this Veterans Day weekend on sister service H2.
A sequel to Emmy-winning WWII in HD, History's Vietnam in HD uses rare film, much of it shot by soldiers in action, detailing every critical chapter of the Vietnam War. It is told largely through first-person accounts of 13 soldiers. (Here is a video sneak peek.)
WW in HD, a 10-hour series, drew 24 million viewers when it premiered in 2009, according to History, and Vietnam in HD has started off with ratings on par with that chronicling of the Greatest Generation.
Where WW II debuted with 2.6 million viewers to Vietnam's 2.1 million, the two shows garnered the same audience in the adults 25-54 category (1.1 million) and Vietnam had 1 million viewers in the 18-49 bracket versus 931,000 for WWII, the network said.
History's attention to the Vietnam generation goes beyond the new series.
The A&E Networks outlet has partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to support "Call for Photos," a campaign to collect a photo for each of the 58,272 service members whose names are memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
History and VVMF hosted a ceremony on Military Island in New York City's Times Square on Oct. 11 to call attention to the campaign. Thus far, more than 1,000 photos of service members whose names appear on The Wall have been collected.
The effort to find, scan and display photos of fallen Vietnam heroes has also included events in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago.
Today, Veterans Day (Nov. 11), key executives from History delivered introductory remarks at the annual Veterans Day Observance at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
VVMF has raised nearly $45 million for the construction of the soon to be created Vietnam Veterans Education Center and had an immediate opportunity to raise an additional million that would be matched if they could raise an initial $1 million.
At the start of the ceremony today, VVMF had close to a million: $913,000. History donated $87,000 on the spot today to reach the goal. History chief historian Dr. Libby O'Connell announced the donation today as part of the ceremony.
The ceremony included a keynote address from Joseph Galloway, one of the Vietnam veterans featured in Vietnam in HD. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, the only civilian to receive this medal from the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.