'Vikings' Has Number 1 Cable Series Premiere of the Year With 8.3 Million Total Viewers on the Night

Categories: 1-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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March 4th, 2013


via press release:







New York, NY, March 4, 2013 – 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.



HISTORY® is the leading destination for factual entertainment, including award-winning original series and specials that connect viewers with history in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. The network’s all-original programming slate, including scripted event programming, features a roster of hits including American Pickers®, American Restoration™, Ax Men™, Ice Road Truckers®, Pawn Stars®, Swamp People® and Top Shot® as well as epic mini-series and specials such as the Emmy® Award-winning Hatfields & McCoys, Gettysburg, Vietnam in HD, America The Story of Us, and 102 Minutes That Changed America. The HISTORY website is the leading online resource for all things history, and in 2011, the United States Library of Congress selected HISTORY’s Civil War 150 site for inclusion in the historic collection of Internet materials related to the American Civil War sesquicentennial. www.history.com


  • Thiago

    wow.. season 2?? xD

  • The End

    Certainly expecting renewal. This is MGMs first show since Stargate Universe was cancelled too.

    Hopefully they see success in the TV market again as a sign that they should revive Stargate(Grasping at straws a bit I know, just we’re lacking good scifi at the moment on TV).

  • Andrea

    What does the 18-49 demo translate to?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Andrea: it won’t be exact due to rounding, but for the rest of this season you can divide viewers 18-49 by 1.265 to get to the approximate 18-49 rating, so ~a 2.0 A18-49 rtg for the 10p telecast.

  • silvit


  • Andrea

    Thanks guys!

    So now not only is The Walking Dead beating network Sundays, but now Vikings (at least the premiere).

  • JacobYates

    This is great! Love this series. This is how Walking Dead started out. Ratings in the 2s and viewership in the 6 millions. I would love to see this rise like the Walking Dead, but that is a 1 in a million chance. But I can dream!

  • Brandojames

    Good for History channel. I haven’t been able to check it out yet. I really will watch it now! I thought it was overlapping with Walkong Dead. I was afraid for its numbers.

  • silvit


    The Bible, last year History mini series, True Blood (and you have to consider the limited viability) beat network Sundays too.

  • The End


    Assuming the show builds on the premiere numbers, with The Walking Dead off the air in 4 weeks, it’l be interesting to see how it does when it’s not up against the behemoth.

  • DW

    viking premiered after the walking dead so it isn’t exactly beating it.

  • jcoop

    Great show. Between Vikings and The Walking Dead I have a new Sunday night line up for a while.

  • The End


    Woops, my bad lol I thought it was on at the same time.

  • ABC

    Walking Dead- first reports say a whopping 6.6 18-49 rating.

  • PurpleDrazi


    Heck, even if it only makes HALF of what the Walking Dead Gets now it would be great!

  • Shepherd


    wow.. season 2?? xD

    I this was just supposed to be a mini-series/ documentary. Am I totally wrong on that point?

  • Shepherd

    Oups. :)

    *I thought this was…* edit

  • The End


    MGM are in such a poor position financially that having something successful on the air will benefit them enough to say screw it and keep renewing it till it dies on its feet.

  • Shepherd

    I see. Not wrong per se; I just missed the joke. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • zth

    Huge night for History! But also, apparently, an even bigger night for The Walking Dead – it seems like it did a 6.6. New series high and new season high overall on both broadcast and cable for scripted shows – except for the post-Superbowl Elementary.

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