History has ordered a 20-episode sixth season of its hit drama series Vikings. The renewal comes ahead of the series’ Season 5 premiere in November. In addition, series regular Katheryn Winnick is set to helm one episode in Season 6, marking her directorial debut. Production is slated to begin this fall in Ireland.

The 20-episode fifth season will air in two parts beginning with a two-hour premiere Wednesday, November 29 at 9 PM ET/PT followed by eight episodes airing every Wednesday in the 9 PM slot. The remaining 10 episodes of Season 5 are slated to air in 2018.

Vikings has been a strong ratings performer, with the last season averaging 7.8 million viewers per episode across all platforms. The series is a top five drama across ad-supported cable and averaged 4.1 million total viewers last season in Live+7. Additionally, the series reached 34.3 million total viewers in linear Live+7.

Vikings, which hails from creator and sole writer Michael Hirst, is a family saga that tells the tales of the lives and epic adventures of the raiders and explorers of the Dark Ages. Season 5 cast includes series regulars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who joined this season as Bishop Heahmun, along with Winnick (Lagertha), Gustaf Skarsgård (Floki), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn), Alex Høgh Andersen (Ivar the Boneless), Jordan Smith (Ubbe) and Marco Ilso (Hvitserk).

Vikings has creatively sailed to monumental lengths. The series has evolved from early raids in England, to the heart-stopping death of Ragnar Lothbrok, to the fierce battles of the Great Heathen Army, and now we’ll see the sons of Ragnar exploring and conquering the known world,” said Eli Lehrer, EVP Programming, History. “Michael Hirst has only scratched the surface of his epic saga. 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.”

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Winnick most recently appeared in the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower opposite Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Next up she will star opposite John Travolta in the film Cigarette. She’s repped by CAA, Alchemy Entertainment, and attorney Jeff Bernstein.

Hirst serves as executive producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000, Sheila Hockin, John Weber of Take 5 Productions, Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer and James Flynn.

Vikings is an international Irish/Canadian co-production by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. MGM Television serves as the worldwide distributor outside of Ireland and Canada. It is produced in association with Corus Entertainment.