A New York ADA and a tribute from District 2 are becoming Vikings.
Linus Roache, best known as the Law & Order franchise’s Michael Cutter, and Alexander Ludwig, of The Hunger Games, will be on board for the drama’s second season.
Roache will play Ecbert, King of Wessex, “a man full of strength, knowledge and undisguised ambition,” History announced Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ludwig’s Bjorn is the smart, brave warrior son of Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel).
Executive producer Michael Hirst teased Ragnar’s interaction with Ecbert when he spoke with TVLine at the end of the show’s freshman season. “Wessex is a much bigger kingdom in England and has a much more powerful king,” he previewed, “so it’s going to be interesting how that pans out.”
In addition to playing legal eagle Cutter on Law & Order and its SVU offshoot, Roache has appeared on the British soap Coronation Street and in the Titanic miniseries. Newcomer Ludwig has had roles in Race to Witch Mountain and the upcoming Grown Ups 2.
The highly rated series’ 10-episode Season 2, slated to bow in 2014, begins production this summer.
A&E Networks, which is enjoying a banner year thanks to the success of Duck Dynasty, Vikings and The Bible, unveiled a slate of new projects at its upfront presentation Wednesday, including a miniseries about Houdini starring Adrien Brody in the title role and reality shows about the real-life Hatfields and McCoys and stay-at-home dads.
A&E will air Modern Dads follows four stay-at-home dads (some married, some single) and the trials and tribulations they go through in their daily lives. The network has also picked up Those Who Kill, a serial killer drama based on a Danish series, produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and starring Chloe Sevigny and James D’Arcy. It will premiere in 2014.
New programming for the History Channel includes a reality series based on the real-life Hatfields and McCoys. Piggybacking on the networks’ 2012 miniseries about the feuding families, Hatfields & McCoys, the new show will track two clans as they debate going into business together.
Adrien Brody will also star as Houdini in a two-day miniseries about the escape artist. A premiere date was not announced. Another scripted miniseries, Sons of Liberty, will focus on the events surrounding the Revolutionary War.
Lifetime unveiled Hillbetties, a country music reality show about aspiring female musicians, and announced that its previously-announced miniseries Bonnie and Clyde — starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger in the title roles, as well as Holly Hunter and William Hurt — will premiere simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and The History Channel later this year.
The network also aired clips of previously-announced series Devious Maids, the new soap from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, which premieres in June, and Witches of East End, starring Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Julia Ormond, which will premiere later this year.
The deal just closed and details are scarce. We can tell you that History is developing a miniseries project (working title: Houdini) that traces the arc of the turn-of-the-20th-century master magician’s life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame.
Veteran TV producer (and J.J. Abrams’ father) Gerald W. Abrams (Modern Marvels, 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out) is attached as an executive producer. Brody (King Kong, The Pianist) is attached to star in what would be a rare venture into television for the Academy Award-winning actor.
Pillagers, plunderers, and rapists, great news! Your forefathers are getting another season on History. The network has ordered a second season of Vikings, its first scripted series, after ratings propelled the program to the title of best-rated new series of the year. Yes, even better ratings than Do No Harm! Season 2 will be 10 episodes long and will likely debut in early 2014.
Vikings is a work of historical fiction that follows the burly Norsemen as they hack and slash their way through the unexplored world. Travis Fimmel stars as Ragnar Lothbrok, a young upstart with a bad haircut who wants to shake up the life of his tribe by exploring new lands. Gabriel Byrne plays Earl Heraldson, the Viking chief who’s content to plunder the same old territory. Have you been watching Season 1? What do you think so far?