The network has ordered a full season of the medieval-set drama "Vikings" from "The Tudors" and "Elizabeth" writer Michael Hirst, to debut in summer 2013.
History channel has ordered its first scripted series.
Vikings, about the legendary Norsemen of medieval times, is set to bow in summer 2013. The network has committed to a full season of the series from Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios and creator Michael Hirst, who has adapted numerous historical dramas for TV and film including The Tudors and Elizabeth. The announcement came Tuesday from Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of History, and Roma Khanna, television group president of MGM Studios.
The project is currently casting and is set to begin filming later this year in Ireland and other locations in Northern Europe.
It is a bold play for the channel, which has become a top-rated ad-supported cable network on the strength of its male-targeted unscripted slate including Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers. But the network is slowly branching into scripted territory with it's first scripted miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys, starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, premiering on Memorial Day.
In a statement, Dubuc described the project as a "crossroads" for History.
"People think they know about the Vikings – we see references to them all the time in our popular culture from TV commercials to football teams – but the reality is so much more fascinating and complex, more vivid, visceral and powerful than popular legend," she said. "We will explore the mysteries of the Vikings - the adventures they took and the people who led them. And we will start to understand a past that is very much part of our collective DNA today."
The series will cast the Viking legend as a family drama chronicling the exploits of actual historical figure Ragnar Lothbrok and his band of Viking brothers as Lothbrok rises to become King of the Viking tribes.
Vikings is an international Irish/Canadian co-production from World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. Shaw Media will be the broadcast partner in Canada, airing the show on History Television in Canada. MGM will distribute internationally, outside of Ireland and Canada.