Ultimate Viking: Game of Thrones Star’s TV Show is Greenlit

Vikings reality show promotional shot

Ultimate Viking, the brainchild of Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju and his wife, has been greenlit by the Smithsonian Channel.

From the brains of one of Norway’s most loved actors comes a new Viking-themed competitive adventure series that we think you’re going to love!

Kristofer Hivju shot to global fame playing Tormund Giantsbane in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. Now after more than a year of development, his own TV concept has been greenlit by the Smithsonian Channel.


Viking challenges based on sagas

The show, which has been given the working title Ultimate Viking, will feature a diverse cast of skilled men and women who will be pushed to the extreme as they find out if they have what it takes to live as true Vikings. The series will also include a one-hour accompanying documentary slated to air in 2021.

Each episode is rooted in Viking history and will explore every aspect of Viking lifestyle. Cameras will follow the contestants taking part in extraordinary expeditions under harsh Nordic conditions.

The clans will compete against each other in a series of authentic Viking survival expeditions, challenges, and tasks based on historical facts, saga literature and archaeological evidence.

Filming is underway

The production of the show is already underway in the UK and at a purpose-built Viking settlement on the spectacular Norwegian coast. This ingenious adventure series will feature a diverse cast of modern-day, highly skilled men and women who will be pushed to the extreme as they find out if they have what it takes to live as true Vikings.

Norwegian couple to host

Kristofer Hivju will host the show together with his TV presenter wife Gry Molvær Hivju. During a long period at NRK, Gry worked on many nature and science documentaries.

“We are very excited to host this living history adventure series set in our beautiful country Norway,”  said the couple.

“We are proud to show the fjords, ocean and wild mountains that our ancestors saw. For us, this series is all about a genuine extreme experience based on Viking society, set deep in the heart of the land of the Vikings. It’s going to be exciting, ambitious and based on historical evidence,” they added.

The viking farm at Avaldsnes in western Norway
A Viking Village set will be constructed for the show in western Norway (picture shows the Avaldsnes viking village)

“We are always looking for innovative ways to re-invent the entertainment experience for our curious global audience,” said David Royle, EVP and Chief Programming Officer, Smithsonian Channel.

“Vikings have long captured the public imagination, and this brand-new format pushes boundaries to create a new way for our audience to be enthralled, sometimes appalled and often surprised by the challenges of Viking life. It’s a modern-day interpretation, told through the lens of history,” he added.

Living history for a global audience

“Ultimate Viking aims to re-imagine living history for television audiences across the world,” said Llinos Griffin-Williams, Executive Producer, Wildflame Productions.

“Viking life was extraordinarily tough and the show is no exception. Our new adventure history format pushes living history to another level. It is an extremely ambitious series and one we are thrilled to be making for Smithsonian Channel. Wildflame has a passion for both history and stories which inform and excite the world, so we are thrilled to be bringing this idea alive in conjunction with our partners,” she added.

“Ultimate Vikings is designed to give the viewer the most compelling picture of one of the most iconic periods of history,” said Danny Fenton, CEO, Zig Zag Productions. “It’s unique combination of history, adventure and endurance brings Viking history to life in a way that has never been done before. We are thrilled to be part of the co-pro team.”

Ultimate Viking is produced by Wildflame Productions Ltd., Zig Zag Productions Ltd. and Tindefilm for Smithsonian Channel. David Royle and Charles Poe serve as Executive Producers for Smithsonian Channel. Llinos Griffin-Williams and Paul Islwyn Thomas are Executive Producers for Wildflame Productions; Hilde Nerland for Tindefilm; Danny Fenton and Matt Graff for Zig Zag Productions. The series is Directed by Showrunner Stephen Shearman, with original music composed by Silvia Strand and Jonathan Gregory.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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