'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


  • eridapo

    Yes, I watched it and thought it was pretty good…

  • MoreTears

    @Shepherd: Actually, you are wrong. Vikings was never intended as a mini-series. Its creator, Michael Hirst, was talking about his plans for season two even before the first episode premiered yesterday.

  • tv#1

    Wow! That is surprising. Part of me thought it was going to bomb. History barely advertised it and they aren’t exactly known for their scripted programming. But I am very happy it did well. I hope it continues to do well.

  • KS

    Is this a fantasy series or is it just historical?

  • Shepherd


    Was it advertised as a mini-series? Forgive me, but I don’t watch commercials.

  • Shepherd


    NM, I found a press release for it.

  • jcoop

    With The Waking Dead and Vikings, then Game of Thrones starting when the Walking Dead ends. Sunday is becoming my favorite night for TV.

  • jrc1978

    @KS – It’s a scripted fantasy series. I watched it and was impressed. It seems to have some very good production values and acting involved. It almost has that ‘Game of Thrones’ on a lesser scale feel to it.

  • PurpleDrazi


    Barely advertised it? I saw ads all over the place. Not only on TV (including an ad during the Walking Dead) but online and in print. As my mom would say, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hiting an ad for this show.

  • brutony

    What did you all think of it? I thought it was a tad slow, esp for a pilot ep, but the upcoming shows seem to have alot more radin, and ridin, and rapin!

  • debbie harry rules the world

    Enjoyed it but the first 30 minutes was really boring, the last 30 got me going and will turn in for the other 8 eps.

  • Mick271

    The Vikings was horrible prediction: 30%-50% drop next week

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