After a year-long wait, History Channel is finally bringing an end to its Norseman saga, 'Vikings.' Except that when the historical drama premieres its final 10 episodes, they won't be on History —. The intelligence of both the Vikings and English is often insulting. For instance, in season five - the English army are portrayed as bumbling idiots; and pregnant Viking women are (more than once) clueless about the effects hard labor can have on an unborn child.
After a year-long wait, History Channel is finally bringing an end to its Norseman saga, 'Vikings.' Except that when the historical drama premieres its final 10 episodes, they won't be on History — but on Amazon's Prime Video, where all the episodes will drop on Dec. 30.
The A+E Networks cable channel is taking an unconventional route to close out its first scripted series on Prime Video before airing on a weekly basis on History next year. The series, which stars Alexander Ludwig, Peter Franzen and Alex Høgh Andersen, was originally set to wrap up its run with a 20-episode sixth and final season split into two parts on History Channel. The first half of the final season debuted last December.
'Vikings' showrunner Michael Hirst told TheWrap that the decision was out of his hands. 'Nobody told me anything about it. I was told about it as a fait accompli,' he said. 'It didn't entirely surprise me.'
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The 'Vikings' franchise was already moving toward streaming anyway. Hirst and 'Vikings' producers MGM Television have a follow-up series, 'Vikings: Valhalla' that is in development at Netflix. That series takes place 100 years after the History Channel series. 'The 'Vikings' spin-off show, which they've already started shooting, is obviously on Netflix. So the streaming services were kind of looking around. The figures were so attractive, apparently to both Amazon and Netflix, so that it's not surprising,' Hirst continued. He is an executive producer on 'Valhalla,' while Jeb Stuart takes over as showrunner.
Hirst said he's glad that 'Vikings' fans will get to see the series' conclusion in one sitting, especially after having to wait a full calendar year between the first and second halves of the season. Especially since filming wrapped on the series more than two years ago. 'There is an element of frustration, when you have to wait a week for the next episode, when you often really want to find out what happened,' he said. 'And, and also History because of their model, financial model they had ad breaks. And the more successful the show became, the more ad breaks they had. And so I wasn't particularly happy about that.'
The move to Amazon comes as History Channel is pivoting its scripted programming strategy to focus on miniseries rather than ongoing dramas like 'Vikings.' The network recently picked up two new limited series, including one from Hirst about the Bubonic Plague.
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'History's scripted programming in development embraces our roots with premium historical miniseries that resonate with our audience and complement our event megadoc content centered on big moments throughout our history,' Eli Lehrer, executive vice president and general manager at History, said last month when announcing the programming shift. 'We've been evolving our scripted business model for the brand, with a shift in focus to our legacy in big event limited-series, including both fully commissioned and co-produced projects.'
Vikings debuted in 2013 and was History's first-ever scripted series during a time when many cable networks were looking to get into scripted content in a bid to copy AMC's successful rebrand from old movie channel into scripted powerhouse. At the same time, that content explosion was just beginning on streaming with Netflix debuting 'House of Cards' and 'Orange Is the New Black' that same year.
'Vikings' debuts all final 10 episodes on Prime Video on Dec. 30. It will premiere on History Channel sometime early next year.
Vikings is sailing over to Amazon Prime Video. The series' final 10 episodes will debut on the streamer, it was announced on Wednesday. The show previously aired on History.
Season 6A, which aired its finale in February, ended with a battle between the Rus and Vikings, with Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) fighting for his homeland alongside King Harald (Peter Franzen) against Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen) now fighting with the Rus forces in an attempt to gain control of Norway. The battle concluded with Ivar seemingly stabbing a sword through Bjorn's chest.
'Our monumental Vikings saga is coming to its conclusion, but not before you’ve had the chance to watch some of my all-time favorite episodes,' Vikings creator, executive producer and sole writer Michael Hirst said in a statement. 'Prime Video will uniquely expose the series finale to a streaming audience first. Prepare to be astonished, and for many surprises along the way. And if you have tears to shed, then also be prepared to shed them.'
'Prime Video has already delighted Prime members with all five and a half seasons of Vikings,' said Brad Beale, VP of Worldwide Content Licensing for Prime Video. 'On Dec. 30, Prime members in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Ireland will be the first to learn the fates of the beloved characters as the epic drama concludes in the final ten episodes.'
In an interview with ET, Ludwig teased his character might not be dead -- while Hirst promised fans the ending would be 'worthwhile.'
'I was quite determined that this would end strongly, properly and satisfactorily, so that all the audience is satisfied with the endings of their favorite characters, whether they live or die, that they're still happy with the logic of it and the emotion of it,' Hirst said. 'Because there are so many significant deaths, it was hugely emotional for me to write. I love these characters. Even some of the bad guys, and Harald Finehair is not the bad guy, but I love him so much, and I feel I've brought him back from the dead at least twice because I just couldn't bear to let him go. So, when I do kill characters off, it's a huge effort in letting go of people that I love and spent a long, long time with.'
'I hope that people will get a thrill from the storyline. There's a lot of story to come. There are a lot of surprises. There are also a lot of heartbreaks and a lot of tragedy,' he added. 'But in the end, I just want people to feel that it's totally and hugely satisfying. After 89 episodes, that's what I really, really hope for.'
Season 6B of Vikings will debut Dec. 30 on Amazon Prime Video.
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