As the hit drama is wrapping, History, Vikings creator Michael Hirst and studio MGM Television, are looking to extend the Vikings franchise with a new series. I’ve learned that the network is in talks with MGM and Hirst about a new series from the same creative team as the original series, which would continue the Vikings saga. If the offshoot project, which is in early stages, moves forward, Hirst will be joined by feature writer Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive).
Vikings, which will end its run after a total of 89 episodes, is currently halfway through airing the back 10 episodes of its 20-episode fifth season, with the finale slated for Jan. 30. The series recently wrapped production on the final sixth season, which is expected to debut later this year, with the last episodes likely airing in 2020. A rep for History confirmed to Deadline that Vikings is coming to an end, providing no further details.
Created and executive produced by Hirst, who has written every episode, Vikings has been a legacy show for History. It marked the network’s first foray into ongoing scripted series. Vikings was a breakout ratings hit when it debuted in 2013 and remains History’s #1 scripted series of all time, successfully overcoming a number of cast changes, including the exit of original lead, Travis Fimmel, whose character Ragnar Lothbrok’s story arc came to an end in Season 4. Its most recent episode finished No.2 in 18-49 and No.3 in total viewers among all cable originals last week with 2.7 million total viewers, 895,000 of them adults 18-49 (L+3).
Vikings originally set out to follow the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Fimmel) and tell the sagas of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family. Because it was based on actual historical figures and events, Vikings had a finite number of stories to tell, and had been building towards an end, set by Hirst as the creative mastermind behind the series.
History has been beefing up its scripted roster over the last couple of years. Its next scripted drama, Project Blue Book from Robert Zemeckis and A+E Studios, premieres January 8. Knightfall returns for a second season in the spring.
Vikings also has been an important show for MGM TV. It marked the first series order for the company as it was rebuilding itself post-bankruptcy. The TV studio has ramped up its portfolio since; it also includes the Emmy winning The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo.
Hirst, who also created The Tudors and co-created Camelot, has a first-look deal at MGM for his production company and has been working on new series projects, including an Ancient Rome drama he has been developing with Martin Scorsese, which has been eyed by MGM-owned network Epix.
Stuart is currently in business with History sibling A+E Studios as creator, writer and executive producer of animated World War II drama series The Liberator, which was recently picked up by Netflix.