History has a scored a few big ratings hits this season, and though its first scripted drama Vikings has not even finished its inaugural run, the cable network has already renewed it for a 10-episode second season. According to the network, Vikings has been the #1 new cable series in 2013 in terms of viewership, even in its competitive Sunday night slot, averaging around five million viewers. I reviewed the series as it first aired and found it compelling, especially in the weeks before another gritty period drama, Game of Thrones, returned — although Vikings certainly has its own merits. Hit the jump for more.
HISTORY has announced their cast for the scripted series, Vikings. Hoping to bank on the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, writer Michael Hirst (The Tudors) created the series based on real life figures of Scandanavian history. The story follows the family saga and rise to power of Ragnar Lothbrok, a great hero who pushed the limits of exploration and rose to become King of the Viking tribes. Gabriel Byrne and George Blagden are joined by Travis Fimmel, Jessalyn Gilsig, Gustaf Skarsgard, Clive Standen and Katheryn Winnick. Hit the jump for the full press release.
History (formerly known as The History Channel) announced two high profile projects today. The first, The Hatfield and the McCoys, centers on the infamous 19th-century family feud. Kevin Costner will star as “Devil” Anse Hatfield and co-produce with Leslie Greif. The press release claims the 2012 premiere will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the feud, but I’m not sure how they determine the anniversary for a multidecade feud that was initiated 146 years ago. Brad Pitt, Robert Duvall, and Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper were linked to a separate Hatfield/McCoy movie over a year ago, with the caveat that it will happen “if and when Pitt decides to clear a place in his schedule.” I imagine the Costner project will dissuade Pitt from searching too hard for that hole.
Additionally, History is developing a docudrama series with producer Mark Burnett (Survivor). The network promises all the greatest hits: Noah’s Ark, the Exodus from Egypt, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, and of course, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The press release highlights the “state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery (CGI),” which is absolutely noteworthy in 2011. The 10-hour series will air in five parts in 2013.
Read the official announcement for both projects after the jump.