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Second big-budget Borgias drama series announced

Showtime has ordered an historical drama about the Borgias, marking the second big-budget series about the infamous Italian family.

The show, The Borgias, for the US cable network, starring Jeremy Irons, will tread familiar ground to the 12x1hr miniseries The Borgias written by US showrunner Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide), that was announced late last year. At launch it was announced that the show would be exec-produced by ex-HBO boss Chris Albrecht who has since taken the top job at US cable net Starz.

The 13-part Showtime show will effectively be a follow-up to its hit historical series The Tudors. Set in Renaissence Italy, it will follow the exploits of the eponymous family. The show is written by The Tudors’ scribe Michael Hirst with the first episode likely to debut early next year.

The Fontana show will debut on Canal+ and its order was significant in that it was the first time the  French premium pay TV channel had greenlit an English-language one-hour series. With a €30 million budget, the show goes into production this year and will bow around the same time as the Showtime series.

It is not clear whether it will go head to head with the rival Borgias series as a US broadcaster has not been confirmed. Germany’s Beta Film is handling international sales.