'Vikings' Final Episodes to Air First on Amazon

Vikings -season 6- Publicity Still - H 2019
Jonathan Hession

Vikings is making some history of its own.

Vikings, the scripted drama series from creator and showrunner Michael Hirst that launched History into the originals business, will end its run first on Amazon before the final 10 episodes debut on the basic cable network. Amazon will have the first window to second half of season six and drop all episodes on Dec. 30. History will air them at a date to be determined in 2021.

The deal could be considered a savvy move as producers MGM Television look to better monetize the pricey period drama at a time when revenue from basic cable networks, like History, continues to slide. History, too, benefits from a likely reduced licensing fee as it now has a second window and more revenue to use for developing other scripted series.

Amazon and Hulu both have streaming rights to the first five seasons and dropped the first half of season six earlier this year following its first window on History. And it's worth noting that Hirst's Vikings sequel spinoff, which also hails from MGM Television, moved from History to Netflix in a separate deal last year.

"Prime Video has already delighted Prime members with all five and a half seasons of Vikings," said Brad Beale, vp worldwide content licensing at Amazon. “On Dec. 30, Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Ireland will be the first to learn the fates of the beloved characters as the epic drama concludes in the final 10 episodes."

Vikings is the last scripted series on History and the cable network's longest-running. The network, a joint venture between A+E and Disney, previously canceled scripted originals Project Blue Book, Knightfall and Six after two seasons apiece. History, though, remains active in developing scripted originals and last week announced that it was developing two limited series, including one about the bubonic plague in 17th century London from Hirst. The move echoes other basic cable networks who are attempting to use high-profile limited series or the few remaining ongoing scripted shows (i.e. Paramount Network with Yellowstone) as event tentpoles every quarter.

"Our monumental Vikings saga is coming to its conclusion, but not before you’ve had to chance to watch some of my all-time favorite episodes,” said Hirst. “Prime Video will uniquely expose the series finale to a streaming audience first. Prepare to be astonished, and for many surprises along the way. And if you have tears to shed, then also be prepared to shed them."

Vikings fans who do not have a Prime Video membership on Dec. 30 can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

The Vikings pact marks a rare instance where an ongoing scripted series will shift from having its first window on a linear network in favor of a streaming debut before it launches on its original home.