Fargo, Platoon, Annie Hall, Hotel Rwanda, and Hoosiers are among the films from the MGM library that will join the programming lineup for those who pay $79 a year for Amazon Prime (which provides free shipping for merchandise in addition to entertainment content). But the e-retailer seems most excited about Vikings, which airs in the U.S. on History. It’s not a shock to see it on Amazon: The company’s European streaming service, Lovefilm, has had it since May. It’s “a series we know our customers love in both the U.S. and abroad,” says Brad Beale, Director of Digital Video Content Acquisition for Amazon. And MGM is glad to collect the check. “We are always looking for opportunities to bring our content to new audiences in innovative ways, which is exactly what this partnership delivers,” says John Bryan, MGM’s President, Domestic Television Distribution.
The freshman season of Vikings was a marauding success for History, with the historical drama emerging as the No. 1 new cable series of the year and scoring three Emmy noms yesterday. Now there’s a trailer for Season 2, which debuted at Comic-Con today. “More armies, more Viking ships” — that was Vikings creator Michael Hirst’s biggest promise to the crowd at Comic-Con and that’s exactly what the teaser trailer delivered (watch it after the jump), showing Norse crusader Ragnar Lothbrok’s vast army clashing with their foes on a bloody beach, Troy-like style. Many of the actors present, most of them bearded and long-haired, followed Hirst’s cue, in keeping details about Season 2 close to the vest. Audiences will learn more about Ragnar’s sons, in particular Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), and of course Ragnar’s wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) will ultimately learn of her husband’s extramarital affair.
Related: EMMYS: ‘Vikings’ Justin Pollard
“As Americans, you like to say that family comes first,” Hirst told Room 6a, “The same can be said of the Vikings. Ragnar bred a lot of sons who became famous in their own turn. When he died, they finally declared war on the whole world.” Hinted Winnick: “Her relationship with Bjorn and Ragnar is tested. We learn that our son is older and it’s interesting to see if she is stronger or weaker in that situation.”
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
In the first episode of History’s Vikings, lead character Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) can barely contain his excitement as he tries to persuade brother Rollo (Clive Standen) that Viking ships might venture West to discover what new cities and new gods might be found in uncharted territory. How, wonders Rollo, can a ship stay true to its course with no land in sight? Ragnar shows Rollo the sunboard, a disc that floats on water and charts direction by the location of the noon shadow. Rollo remains skeptical: What happens when clouds obscure the sun? Ragnar then unwraps the precious sunstone, a crystal whose reflective properties can pinpoint the sun’s position even in blinding fog.
In the company’s first such deal, Amazon-owned LoveFilm has acquired exclusive streaming rights to History‘s Vikings for the UK and Germany. The Netflix rival will make all nine episodes of the hit show available via LoveFilm Instant in the UK on May 24 and in Germany on June 15. Vikings, handled internationally by MGM Television, is the No. 1 new cable series of the year in the U.S. and was renewed for a second season in April. This marks the first time LoveFilm has pacted for a series to stream on the service ahead of traditional broadcast television. Amazon Studios recently used the platform for its pilot screening process, making a slate of 14 pilots available on Amazon Instant Video, LoveFilm UK and LoveFilm Germany.
History Channel announced today that it is picking up another season of Vikings. The first scripted drama for the network, Vikings will return for 10-episode second season next year. Production is set to begin this summer. The show’s first-season finale will air April 28. The renewal comes five episodes into what has been a successful run for the series. With a lead-in from the Mark Burnett-produced The Bible, Vikings had 6.2 million viewers, 2.5 million adults 18-49 viewers and 2.7 million adults 25-54 catch its March 3 debut. That topped the broadcast networks at 10 PM in the 18-49 demo. The series has emerged as the No. 1 new cable series of the year.
It was a big night for History, whose 10-hour miniseries The Bible opened with 13.1 million viewers and 4.6 million adults 25-54 to rank as the No.1 cable entertainment telecast of the year. It was followed by the debut of the network’s first original scripted series, The Vikings, which rode The Bible‘s coattails to draw 6.2 million viewers, 2.5 million Adults 18-49 and 2.7 million Adults 25-54, beating the broadcast networks at 10 PM in the 18-49 demo. The rollout was part of a new strategy by male-skewing History which is launching the bulk of its programming after the end of football season this year.
History‘s first original scripted series Vikings premieres March 3 at 10 PM. It is set for nine episodes and follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), his ambitions to discover civilizations across the great ocean to the west, and the inevitable conflicts that arise along the way. Here’s the opening credits for the Michael Hirst-created series — they have a kind of Mad Men-meets-Magic City vibe in parts with all that falling and sinking.
History‘s first original scripted series, Vikings, will debut on Sunday, March 3 at 10 PM. A family saga at heart, the nine-episode drama follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a curious, compelling man who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer. Vikings, created and written by Michael Hirst, charts Ragnar’s ambitions to discover civilizations across the great ocean to the west as well as his inevitable conflicts along the way. Gabriel Byrne, Gustaf Skarsgard as well as Katheryn Winnick, Jessalyn Gilsig, George Blagden and Clive Standen co-star. Here’s the first promo:
Travis Fimmel (The Beast, Baytown Outlaws) and Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, CSI: NY) are among the new cast members announced today for History’s upcoming scripted series Vikings. Fimmel will play the role of Viking leader Ragnar; Gilsig has been tapped for the role of Siggy, the wife of Earl Haraldson played by the previously announced Gabriel Byrne. Also announced today: Gustaf Skarsgard (The Way Back) as Floki, Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) as Rollo, and Katheryn Winnick (Stand Up Guys) as Lagertha. The previously announced George Blagden will play the role of Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England. Vikings follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, his band of Viking brothers and his family as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes. Johan Renck and Ken Girotti are slated to direct multiple episodes of the series, which premieres next year.
Gabriel Byrne has been cast as Earl Haraldson in History channel’s first scripted series, Vikings, which premieres in 2013. Byrne will play a powerful figure in the historical telling of the Norsemen who raided and explored during Medieval times. He goes against the story’s protagonist, Ragnar Lothrok. Vikings is a 10-episode drama from MGM TV and The Tudors and Camelot masterminds Michael Hirst and Morgan O’Sullivan. Other executive producers on the series include John Weber of Take 5 Productions, Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn and Sheila Hockin. As with Hirst and O’Sullivan’s other productions, it’s an Irish/Canadian co-production. History has U.S. rights; MGM TV has most international rights.
George Blagden Cast In History’s ‘Vikings’, Johann Urb Joins ‘Californication’, Charlie Weber To ‘Underemployed’
George Blagden is the first major casting for History’s Vikings, the 10-episode drama that marked the channel’s first scripted series order when it was picked up in March. The plot follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, the greatest hero of his age who becomes king of the Viking tribes. Bladgen will play Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England. The actor, repped by Paradigm and Untitled, will have just wrapped filming Universal’s Les Miserables when Vikings begins shooting in July in Dublin. …
Johann Urb (Resident Evil: Retribution) has been cast in a major recurring arc on Showtime’s Californication. He will play Robbie Mac, an openly gay movie star who is picked up for representation by Charlie (Evan Handler). Urb is repped by Innovative and manager Geordie Frey. …
In a recasting, Charlie Weber has come aboard MTV’s new scripted series Underemployed to play advertising hotshot Todd. Chris Carmack played the role in the pilot. The recurring character is the boss of Daphne (Sarah Habel), and the pair become involved in an interoffice tryst. Weber (Vampires Suck) is repped by Talent Works and Vanguard Management.
History is making its first foray into scripted series with Vikings, a 10-episode drama from MGM TV and The Tudors and Camelot masterminds Michael Hirst and Morgan O’Sullivan. The series, which will chronicle the world of the mighty Norsemen who raided, traded and explored during medieval times, will premiere in 2013. It will be filmed in Ireland at O’Sullivan’s newly build Ashford Studios, with location shoots throughout Northern Europe. “This is an amazing crossroads for History embarking on our first scripted series,” said the channel’s general manager Nancy Dubuc. “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.”
This is the highest-profile TV project to come out of MGM since it was rebuilt post-bankruptcy. “There is no better way to introduce the world to the new MGM Television Studios than with a powerful and epic drama like Vikings,” said Roma Khanna, President of MGM’s TV Group and Digita. The project was put in development at MGM last spring with the goal to go straight-to-series on a 10-episode first-season order. Hirst, creator of Showtime’s The Tudors and co-creator of Starz’s Camelot, created Vikings and will executive produce with O’Sullivan, John Weber and and …
Legendary Pictures and Universal closed deals with Lone Survivor star Ben Foster, Vikings‘ Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbel, Dominic Cooper and Rob Kazinsky to star in Warcraft, the live action adaptation of the Blizzard Entertainment video game. Duncan Jones is directing a Charles Leavitt script that Jones rewrote. Production begins January in Vancouver, and Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Alex Gartner are producing.
Foster, whom Lone Survivor director Peter Berg called the best young actor in Hollywood during our conversation at Deadline’s recent Contenders Event, is finally getting his due. Besides Lone Survivor, Foster is in the home stretch playing Lance Armstrong in the Stephen Frears-directed film about the Tour de France champ’s fall from grace from a doping scandal. He’s repped by WME.
The hit movies are the gifts that keep on giving for MGM. In addition to the jump in revenues, the studio says that James Bond and the residents of Middle Earth helped to raise Q3 net income by $23M vs the period last year — once you factor out last year’s $48.5M gain from the sale of MGM Networks to Liberty Global’s Chellomedia. The reported results, including last year’s sale, shows net income of $16.59M, -29%, with the revenue boost to $242.9M. TV licensing was +84% with pay TV and streaming revenues for Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as well as TV series Vikings and Teen Wolf. MGM says that there was “no similar film content” moving through its pipelines last year. The privately held company also reports that it doubled its share repurchase plan to $150M. That indicates MGM’s “continued confidence in the company and its prospects,” CEO Gary Barber says.
EXCLUSIVE: History is taking on one of most celebrated TV programs of all time, blockbuster 1977 miniseries Roots. The cable network is planning a new eight-hour Roots miniseries after acquiring rights to the 12-hour original from Mark Wolper, son of Roots executive producer, the late David L. Wolper, and to the book the mini was based on, Roots: The Saga Of An American Family, from the estate of author Alex Haley. Mark Wolper is on board as executive producer. The network is about to start discussions with writers for the project, which will draw both on the book and the original mini from a contemporary perspective. “We would like to revive that cultural icon for a new audience,” said History EVP and GM Dirk Hoogstra. The project originated with a remark by one of Hoogstra’s executives, VP Development and Programming Michael Stiller, who suggested the network should try to remake Roots. The idea was put into motion, and meetings were set up with Mark Wolper and the attorney representing the Haley estate. As talks progressed, it emerged that there was a second Roots remake project out there from different original auspices that had been eyed by FX. In the end, History stepped up and secured rights, clearing the way for a new Roots mini on the cable network.
The timing couldn’t be better — the topic of slavery is very much …