With “The Tudors” ready to complete its run this spring, Showtime is crafting its next soapy, vaguely historical guilty pleasure, “The Borgias.”
Showtime made the “Borgias” announcement during Saturday (Jan. 9) afternoon’s session for the Television Critics Association press tour.
The 10-episode series will star Oscar winner Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, patriarch of the Borgia family, upper echelon power-mongers in Renaissance-era Italy. Production on “The Borgias” will begin this spring, for a early 2011 premiere.
Neil Jordan, who has been trying to mount a Borgia-based feature for years, will serve as creator and direct at least the first two episodes. Jordan’s Borgia plans came closest to production in 2005, when Scarlett Johansson and Colin Farrell were cast.
Adding continuity for “Tudors” fans will be that series’ writer-executive producer Michael Hirst, who will be a writer-producer on “Borgias.”
“Having blazed a trail with the award-winning ‘The Tudors,’ we wanted to continue to offer our audience a period drama as wicked, witty and utterly compelling — and that’s what ‘The Borgias’ will be,” states Showtime President Robert Greenblatt. “I can guarantee you’ve never seen a family quite like this before, nor could you make up the outrageous twists and turns of their epic saga if your life depended on it. The directorial mastery of Neil Jordan along with Michael Hirst’s flair for bring historical dramas vividly to life for a contemporary audience will make ‘The Borgias’ unlike anything else on television.”
In addition to patriarch-turned-Pope Rodrigo, the Borgia clan includes sons Cesare and Juan, as well as daughter Lucrezia.
This will be the first regular American TV project for Irons, who has a pair of Emmys for his work on “Elizabeth I” and “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century.”