The premiere of “Vikings'” fifth season is still more than two months away, but History is locking up the show for an even longer run.

The channel announced Tuesday it’s renewed the scripted series for a sixth season. Like the forthcoming Season 5, Season 6 will run for 20 episodes.

“[Creator] Michael Hirst has only scratched the surface of his epic saga,” History’s head of programming, Eli Lehrer, says in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with one of the greatest writers in this era of Peak TV and entertaining our viewers with 40 new episodes over the next two seasons.”

“Vikings” has been a strong performer for History over the course of its run. Season 4 averaged 2.27 million viewers and a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49 on the night it aired. A week of DVR catchup pushed the audience to 4.1 million viewers; History says multi-platform viewing brought the total to 7.8 million per episode.

History expanded “Vikings” to 20 episodes per season (split into two 10-episode blocks) last year after airing nine episodes in the show’s first season and 10 each in Seasons 2 and 3. By the time the sixth season wraps, likely in 2019, the show will have 89 episodes to its credit.

Production on Season 6 is scheduled to start in the fall in Ireland, “Vikings'” home base. Series regular Katheryn Winnick will direct one of the episodes, making her debut behind the camera.

The first 10 episodes of Season 5 will kick off with a two-hour premiere on Nov. 29. The back half of the season will air sometime in 2018.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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