History charts a course for more “Vikings,” plus many more networks set premiere dates for their winter shows in Thursday’s TV news roundup …
History has set a divide-and-conquer strategy for its upcoming season of “Vikings.” In addition to increasing the episode order to 20 for season four, the cabler will premiere the first part of the Michael Hirst-created series starting at 10 p.m. on Feb. 18. The second part of the series will air later this year.
The fourth season of news magazine series “Vice” will return to HBO at 11 p.m. on Feb. 4. It will serve as the lead-in to Jay and Mark Duplass’ new animated series, “Animals,” which premieres at 11:30 p.m. that day.
Following its world premiere at Sundance, HBO will debut “Becoming Mike Nichols” on Feb. 22. Filmed a few months before Nichols died in 2014, the film features interviews that theater director Jack O’Brien conducted with his close friend and colleague. It covers Nichols’ work in films like “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” as well as his comedy collaboration with Elaine May and his direction of two Neil Simon stage classics.
Fitness trainer extraordinaire Jillian Michaels’ E! series “Just Jillian” will premiere at 10 p.m. on Jan. 19. The eight episodes will cover the “Biggest Loser” alum’s struggles to build her empire while also being a devoted parent.
“Truth and Power,” the Pivot docuseries narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal, will premiere at 10 p.m. on Jan. 22. The 10-part series, exec produced by Brian Knappenberger (“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz”), addresses security and privacy concerns both among big businesses and the government.
Pivot also announced it had renewed the original series “Secret Lives of Americans” and “Human Resources” for a second and third season, respectively.
“War & Peace,” the four-week limited series adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel, has set 9 p.m. on Jan. 18 for its simulcast premiere on History, A&E and Lifetime. Set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, the miniseries stars James Norton, Lily James and Paul Dano.
Lifetime also announced that “My Sweet Audrina,” its latest adaptation of a V.C. Andrews novel, will premiere at 8 p.m. on Jan. 9 and its Toni Braxton biopic “Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart” will air at 8 p.m. on Jan. 23.
A second season has been ordered of Carnival Films’ “The Last Kingdom,” the sprawling adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Series novels. The first season aired on BBC2 in the U.K. and on BBCAmerica in the States. The scribe Tweeted the news and the U.K.’s Broadcast Now reports that the new season will air in 2017.