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The cable network has ordered 10 more episodes for its first scripted drama, created by Michael Hirst, it was announced Friday by Dirk Hoogstra, executive vp development and programming for History. Production on season two will begin in the summer for a 2014 return.
“Vikings is a win win for us. As our first scripted series, Vikings has paid off in a big way with critical acclaim, strong ratings and a passionate, loyal fan base. It came out of the gate strong and has stayed on top, solidifying History as a major player in the scripted genre, just as we are in reality,” said Hoogstra. “We could not be more proud of the entire cast and crew and everyone involved in the making of Vikings. Michael Hirst has captured audiences with his complex, compelling characters and brought the unknown, epic world of these warriors to life.”
Vikings debuted in early March to 6.2 million viewers, helping propel History to No. 1 in the show’s 10 p.m. Sunday slot. During the first five weeks, Vikings has averaged 5 million viewers, with 2.2 million among adults 25-54 and 1.9 million in 18-49. For its most recent episode, the drama drew 4.7 million viewers.
Sunday’s installment will begin a big test for Vikings (brought to History by MGM Television), as it will finish off the rest of season one without Mark Burnett’s The Bible as a lead-in. That wrapped its run with 11.7 million viewers on Easter Sunday.
Canada’s History on Friday also followed the stateside lead and picked up Vikings for the 10-episode second season. The Shaw Media cable channel has secured an average of 942,000 viewers for the Canadian-Irish co-production from World 2000 and Take 5 Productions.
Vikings follows the lives and adventures of the Dark Age raiders, traders and explorers through the eyes of the Viking society. Travis Fimmel, Gabriel Byrne, Katheryn Winnick, Jessalyn Gilsig, George Blagden, Clive Standen and Gustaf Skarsgard star. Hirst serves as an executive producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan, John Weber, Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn and Sheila Hockin.
Vikings’ season finale is set for April 28.
Etan Vlessing contributed to this report.
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