History‘s Vikings returned for its second season at 10 PM last night, capturing 3.6 million viewers — including 1.7 million adults 18-49, of whom 1.1 million were guys, and 1.8 million adults 25-54, of whom 1.2 million were men. Vikings’ first season launch had clocked a whopping 6.2 million viewers — 2.5 million adults 18-49 and 2.7 million adults 25-54 — but, as History points out, the lead-in for its series launch last year was rating behemoth The Bible. Armed with that Mark Burnett-produced miniseries as its lead-in, Vikings averaged 4.3 million total viewers, with 2 million 25-54 and 1.8 million 18-49 in its first season — a marauding success for History, with the historical drama emerging as the No. 1 new cable series of the year and scoring three Emmy noms.
History would draw your attention to the final four episodes of that first season — those being the episodes that ran without The Bible boost, including the season finale that attracted 3.6 million viewers. History notes that last night’s debut was up 3% in total viewers, 10% in men 25-54 and 18-49, and 6% in adults 18-49 compared to the average for those episodes. Vikings remains one of cable’s top programs overall, behind The Walking Dead and American Horror Story: Coven among all cable dramas this year, according to Nielsen.