Yesterday, the predictable (but still sad) news came out that Vikings is coming to a close after the upcoming sixth season. Within this article, we’re going to do our best to take on another question: Why this happened in the first place. Why end what is one of your most-successful shows?
Within the world of television, the reality here is that these choices are never altogether easy, and such is the case here. Vikings is a show that really defined drama at History and gave the network a dimension that they did not have previously. This is a strong, compelling series with great characters and interesting storytelling, and for many years it delivered some incredible ratings.
Yet, any discussion that we have on this subject has to begin with the fact that the ratings for Vikings are not what they once were. The series has slowly lost a good bit of live viewership over the past few years — it hasn’t been a dramatic drop, though, and could just be a result of natural viewer erosion that comes in this era of DVR viewership and streaming. Nonetheless, this decline may have made it necessarily for the series to not be as profitable as it once was.
There’s also this to consider here: The longer a series lasts, the more expensive it is to produce, especially when it comes to the series’ longtime cast members. Our feeling is that ending the show in season 6 is a way to keep things from being too costly; as a matter of fact, our feeling has been that one of the reasons why seasons 5 and 6 were given such hefty episode orders is that it was more cost-effective than splitting these 40 episodes up into four separate seasons. Networks often think with this stuff in mind.
Why we could have another series
In developing a potential sequel / companion show, what History benefits from is an opportunity to keep some of the same fan base while also moving forward with some stories that may have a little more meat on the bone. With Vikings proper, we could be getting near the end of what Michael Hirst wanted to tell. With a new show, there’s a chance for something that is new, creative, and cost-effective all at the same time. We’ll see if it happens, but given this show’s legacy we’re cautiously optimistic about the future for the time being.
Are you sad that Vikings is ending after season 6 on History? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: History.)