The drama stars Gabriel Byrne, Travis Fimmel and Katheryn Winnick and revolves around the fierce Scandinavian warriors that colonised parts of northern Europe in 8th century. The drama is part of History’s strategy to produce more original content outside of its usual factual output and follows on from the hugely successful Hatfields & McCoys, which starred Bill Paxton and Kevin Costner, mini-series which attracted record ratings for History.
Over two telecasts on premiere night, Sunday, March 3, Vikings delivered 8.3 million total viewers, 3.4 million Adults 18-49 and 3.8 million Adults 25-54. History’s first scripted series, Vikings, conquered 6.2 million total viewers in its 10 p.m. premiere timeslot, 2.7 million Adults 25-54 and 2.5 million Adults 18-49. Vikings is the #1 new cable series launch of the year among total viewers and Adults 25-54. At 10 p.m., Vikings topped all broadcast networks among Adults 18-49.
“Vikings is an incredible win for History – our first scripted series. We began this journey over six years ago, when we set sail to broaden the genre of History and now we are the only cable network to have achieved this amazing level of success in both nonfiction and scripted genres,” said Nancy Dubuc, President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks. “People think they know the Vikings – but the reality is more complex. We knew our audience had an appetite for this unexpected storytelling and it was a big bet that paid off.”
Vikings , airs Sundays at 10PM ET, tells the extraordinary tales of the lives and epic adventures of these warriors. The drama portrays the world of these Dark Age raiders, traders, explorers – not from an outsider’s view, but, through the eyes of Viking society.
While Vikings is filled with conflict, warfare and bloodshed – for these were extreme times – it is a family saga at heart. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel, The Beast, Baytown Outlaws), a curious, compelling man who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer. Ragnar is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment, Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing), who continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic states and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves.
Joining Fimmel and Byrne are Katheryn Winnick (Bones, Love and Other Drugs, The Black Marks) as Lagertha, a fierce shield maiden and Ragnar’s wife; Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights) as Siggy, Earl Haraldson’s beautiful wife; George Blagden (Les Miserables, Wrath of the Titans) as Athelstan, a young, innocent Christian monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England, Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) as Rollo, Ragnar’s impulsive, wild, care-free brother and Gustaf Skarsgard (The Way Back) a ship builder who designs the new generation of Vikings ships.
Created and written by Michael Hirst – one of the premier historical story-tellers in the industry (Academy-Award winning film Elizabeth; and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series The Tudors), Michael serves as Executive Producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo; The Tudors), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors; The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn (The Tudors; The Borgias) and Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; The Borgias). Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs are the Executives in Charge of Production for History.
Vikings is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. History will broadcast domestically in the U.S. MGM Television will bring Vikings to the global audience, serving as the international distributor outside of Ireland, Canada and the U.S. Vikings is produced in association with Shaw Media, and the series will air on History in Canada.