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.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage
History‘s 10-part miniseries The Bible continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, landing three Emmy nominations this morning including one for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie (as well as for sound editing and sound mixing). The noms further burnished the credentials of the series’ married exec producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and come at a time when the project has taken on a successful life of its own: Burnett sold a sequel this month to NBC (tentatively titled AD: Beyond The Bible) and has seen the original mini emulate the massive ratings success it had on History overseas (it bowed to huge ratings this week in Australia). The series was No. 1 in its time period for all of TV when it aired in March and averaged 11.4 million total viewers during its five-week run. At the end of June it passed the 1 million mark in DVD sales, making it one of the best-selling DVDs based on a TV series of all time.
This might give a shot of confidence to all of those Biblical-themed features, from the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah with Russell Crowe to the upcoming Fox film Exodus, with Ridley Scott directing and Christian Bale playing Moses. Beyond the high ratings received when Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s The Bible ran on History Channel, the 10-parter has become the top-selling mini ever across Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD.
LOS ANGELES, CA, June 27, 2013 – THE BIBLE reached a new milestone today with 1 million units sold across Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD™. The epic 10-part miniseries from co-executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey continues to dominate records everywhere with its unprecedented sales performance. During its run, THE BIBLE propelled HISTORY® to number one in all of television from 8-10PM on Sunday nights with over 100 million viewers. THE BIBLE series will air internationally later this year, followed by its international home entertainment release.
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.
Officially, Nancy Dubuc has been president and CEO of A+E Networks for two days, but she’s already putting her stamp on the company, setting top executives for each of the brands and launching an in-house studio. Under the plan, Bob DeBitetto, General Manager of A&E Networks and BIO, will transition to a new role of head of A+E Studios with a title of President, Brand Strategy, Business Development. He will be succeeded at the helm of A&E by his top lieutenant, David McKillop, EVP Programming, who is adding a general manger title. Dirk Hoogstra, who was promoted to EVP Development and Programming for History and H2 just three months ago, will now add the title of General Manager for the two channels. And as Dubuc moves away from day-to-day oversight of the networks to focus on her role as CEO, Lifetime’s EVP programming Robert Sharenow also is adding general manager responsibilities. Additionally, A+E Networks has officially tapped veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett to run LMN and Bio as president.
“These are the people who have led their teams to some of the biggest successes on television over the last two years, including Hatfields & McCoys, The Bible, Vikings, Duck Dynasty, Bates Motel, Storage Wars, Dance Moms, Client List and Steel Magnolias,” >Dubuc said. “I have had the honor to work with Bob, David, Rob and Dirk for a many years, and am thrilled that we are continuing this journey together. And I couldn’t be more excited that Jana is joining A+E Networks. She is an experienced industry veteran who knows how to build and grow brands and create long-running franchises.”
The half-hour History series stars Mark Muller and his brother and business partner, radio host Eric “Mancow” Muller, as they run their throwback auto dealership Max Motors in rural Butler, MO. They make car deals the old-fashioned way in …
Days after last year’s upfront in New York, History‘s Hatfields & McCoys burst onto the scene, shattering ratings records and reviving the limited-event series form. Over the last 12 months, event series have continued to gain momentum, with History launching another blockbuster in The Bible, and Fox, FX and Spike announcing big pushes in the arena. The genre also has been factoring into the network’s ongoing pilot discussions and may have presence at the upfronts next week. “It seems to be the du jour concept these days,” one industry insider said. “If you call a drama a limited event series, you maintain series options on the actors while at the same time maintain the project’s international value. And if you market them well, they bring in audience.”
One of the highest-profile drama prospects for next season, ABC’s Once Upon A Time spinoff, has been developed as a limited series to air 13-episode arcs every season in the vein of FX’s American Horror Story. Such a potential scenario also has been mentioned for a number of other serialized/high-concept drama pilots should they get a series order: ABC’s Gothica and Big Thunder, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and CBS’ Hostages. CBS already is branching into the genre this coming summer with Under The Dome, originally developed as a regular series. The CW, whose president Mark Pedowitz last season was among the first to embrace the concept, did midseason entry Cult as a limited-type series and is looking to do more next season, with The Selection among those considered for a limited run. Fox’s The Following and ABC’s Red Widow too had been conceived with cable-style shorter seasons in mind.
The miniseries from Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey is scoring in the ratings for History, drawing 13.1 million viewers in its premiere episode and holding strong ahead of its final episode Sunday. But that makes The Bible fair game for The Colbert Report host, who …
UPDATE: ‘The Bible’ Producers Call Controversy Over Satan’s Resemblance To President Obama “Utter Nonsense”
UPDATE, 10:15 AM: History and The Bible executive producers, husband and wife Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, just addressed the Obama-Satan controversy. “History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the network said in a statement. “The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
Burnett and Downey used stronger language in dismissing the connection, suggesting that the actor playing the Devil may have been simply type cast. “This is utter nonsense,” they said. “The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.” Added Downey: “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”
PREVIOUS 7:15 AM: History’s hit miniseries The Bible had its 3rd installment last night. It’s already been taken to task for its use of beautiful actors in all key roles. Now the project’s casting choice for the role of Satan has come under fire for the apparent resemblance of Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani to President Barack Obama.