History’s been getting into the scripted programming game for some time now. The cable channel has had pretty good luck with miniseries, including Hatfields & McCoys and the more recent Sons of Liberty. Its heavy hitter is still the original series Vikings, though. Now airing its third season, History has opted to go ahead and renew Vikings for another round.

History’s announcement this morning was brief and didn’t feature a lot of key details regarding Season 4, likely because Season 3 has not finished airing yet. There are five episodes left in the latest season, which has recently featured the Viking crew plotting to head up the Seine and into Paris. The season finale will air on April 23. Luckily, if the last two seasons are any indication, we’ll probably be seeing a 10-episode season next year.

Vikings has been down in the ratings a bit during Season 3, but there are still well over 2 million viewers who tune in for each episode live. In addition, the show is the #1 scripted cable program in Live+3 ratings, averaging 4.3 million viewers. That’s apparently enough eyeballs that History had no qualms with renewing the network’s big scripted drama. It might seem a bit preemptive to call a renewal well before Season 3 ends its run, but part of the reason for the renewal also may have to do with the fact that the program shoots in Ireland and production on the series will actually begin this spring. Renewing the series means the creative team can officially begin to plan ahead. So, all things being equal, early is definitely more convenient and could actually lead to better episodes down the line.

It’s a little shocking that History hasn’t managed to land a companion scripted series to air with Vikings, yet. The network has plenty of reality programming (some that is loosely history-based), including Pawn Stars, Swamp People and American Pickers. However, if History does add a new program next season, using Vikings as a launching off pad could be interesting. After all, while reality programs can earn big revenues, it’s typically scripted programs that earn critical praise and editorials come award season.

If you have always been interested in Vikings and would like to catch up, you can find the series on Amazon Prime or tune in for new episodes on the History channel on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET. If you haven’t at least given it a chance, it’s definitely worth your time. The acting is top notch. The writing is among the best on television, and thanks to this renewal, we know there are plenty of episodes left.

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