History Channel's push into scripted television has been paying off and earned its first drama series another year.
On Friday, the cable network announced that it's renewing "Vikings" for a 10-episode second season. The renewal arrives just five episodes into the season and four episodes left before its finale on Sunday, April 28 at 10 p.m.
Averaging five million total viewers and 1.7 million viewers in the ad-coveted 18-49 demo, "Vikings" consistently claims victory in its time slot for cable programming.
“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 executive vice president of development and programming Dirk Hoogstra in a statement.
“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. Season Two will begin production this summer to air in 2014,” he continued.
Created by Michael Hirst ("The Tudors," "Elizabeth"), "Vikings" is based on the legends of Ragnar Lothbrook (played by Travis Fimmel) who pushes the boundaries of exploration for his people beyond known lands. It also stars Gabriel Byrne, Jessalyn Gilsig and Katheryn Winnick.
The series is an Irish/Canadian co-production by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. And it will be distributed internationally by MGM Television.
“We are very excited that 'Vikings' is generating so much attention worldwide,” said MGM's television Group and digital president, Roma Khanna. “MGM is thrilled to have the continued support and enthusiasm of our partners at History and to work with an amazing international team as they bring Michael Hirst‘s vision to audiences around the globe."
History's scripted slate has been a success story so far for the network — previously known for its unscripted and documentary programming. Miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" broke ratings records and its finale attracted 14.3 million viewers.
More recently, "The Bible" debuted with the biggest cable audience ever of 13.1 million viewers and its finale, which aired on Easter Sunday, brought in 11.7 million viewers — its second biggest audience of the season.