The names ‘Hatfield’ and ‘McCoy’ go together in the American English language as a symbolisation of family feuds, with the historic rivalry, claimed by many to have lasted primarily between 1863-1891, now set to become the subject of a modernised review of the lives of people in the families today.
The feud between the Hatfield (pictured in 1897 at a time of lessened conflict) and McCoy ‘clans’ was originally started because of a McCoy joining the Union Army in the US Civil War, but escalated when the families argued over ownership of a hog, and a ‘Romeo & Juliet’-style forbidden romance between teenagers of the rivals, in a series of battles that caused over 10 deaths within the families, and several incidents that got their respective states (West Virginia and Kentucky) involved.
Since the final trial relating to the feuds in 1901, the parties have shown a much more friendly public face, with numerous one-off and annual ’peace’ events (including a 1979 week-long appearance on gameshow Family Feud in which cash and a pig were offered as prizes), though the popular culture around their conflict remains, and is something that many production companies have recreated in documentaries or film, though the History Channel is reportedly planning something different.
Following a successful airing of 3-part, 6-hour-long mini-series in late May (Hatfields & McCoys, which with an average of 13.77m viewers broke the record for most-viewed ad-supported cable broadcast as well) which is also said to have raised strong tourism interest in the area of conflict, History are planning to take their cameras to the reality TV scene, documenting the descendants of the Hatfields and McCoys and their modern lives in an unnamed project.
While this will probably include very little of the conflict or bitterness that was present over a century ago, will the latest direction from History be a successful one to follow on from their popular series?