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Who do you think you are, “Evel Live” — Travis Pastrana? The three-hour live TV tribute to the daring motorcycle jumps of Evel Knievel just soared to some huge heights for History channel.
The Sunday stunt spectacular landed 3.5 million total viewers, per Nielsen’s Live + Same Day ratings. That made it the No. 1 cable special of 2018, excluding news and sports.
Among adults 25-54, the special steered in 1.6 million viewers. “Evel Live” drew 1.2 million viewers 18-49.
“Evel Live” also went big on Twitter: The TV event was the No. 2 most social show of the evening, sitting just behind TLC’s hit series, “90 Day Fiance.”
Riding an Indian Scout FTR 750 with a V Twin engine, Pastrana first cleared the 52 crushed cars and later 16 Greyhound buses in the Las Vegas heat. He then successfully jumped the fountain in front of Caesar’s Palace. Oh yeah: Pastrana did it in Knievel’s iconic red, white and blue leather jumpsuit.
Knievel’s own car-jumping record was 50 automobiles. The legendary daredevil’s personal best bus sum was 14. Knievel crashed badly — and famously — at Caesar’s. There, Evel suffered a concussion, a crushed pelvis and femur, and fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles. Knievel later blamed a speed error of about 5 m.p.h. for the 1967 failure.
Pastrana had no such issues on Sunday, though practicing proved a challenge. Because of the sheer size, weight and makeup of his Indian motorcycle, Pastrana could only truly test the runs on his trusty dirt bike, which is lighter and has much better shock absorption.
Read our preview interview with Pastrana here, where he laid out his entire plan to not die Sunday. It worked.
Watch all three of the jumps here.
“Evel Live” was produced by Nitro Circus Media Productions. Trip Taylor and Dave Mateus are executive producers for Nitro Circus Media Productions. Zachary Behr, Sean Boyle and Mary Donahue are executive producers for History.