'The Borgias' Canceled by Showtime After Three Seasons

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

June 5th, 2013


via press release:



LOS ANGELES, CA (June 5th, 2013) – The epic saga of THE BORGIAS, a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of history’s most infamous dynastic families, is created by Academy Award®-winner and Emmy® nominee Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire).  The series will conclude with its final episode on Sunday, June 16th at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  This expansive drama series stars Oscar® winner Jeremy Irons in his Golden Globe®-nominated role as Pope Alexander VI, the cunning, manipulative patriarch of the infamous Borgia dynasty, who builds an empire by bribing, buying and muscling his way into the papacy.  THE BORGIAS cast also includes François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek, Sean Harris, Thure Lindhart, Gina McKee, Peter Sullivan, Julian Bleach and Colm Feore.


"It has been an honor to work with the great Neil Jordan and the incomparable Jeremy Irons on THE BORGIAS," said David Nevins, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc.  "Neil has written nearly every episode of this series himself.  His extraordinary storytelling combined with Jeremy's fascinating portrayal of the infamous Pope Alexander VI, has made for truly outstanding television that will live on.  I look forward to future collaborations."

“I never thought I would make a cable series and have enjoyed every minute of it,” said series creator and executive producer Jordan. “For a variety of reasons we won’t be doing a fourth season, but, ‘The Prince’ [the final episode], when I wrote it and shot it, did seem like the end of a journey for the family. Whatever bonded them as a family dies in this episode, and the center of the drama for me was always the family. I want to thank SHOWTIME and David Nevins for their unstinting support over the last three years, and look forward to working with them in the future.“

Filmed entirely on location in Budapest, the series' final episode finds Alexander (Irons) and Cesare (Arnaud) reconciled at last, and now ready to take their first step towards their ultimate goal: to create a hereditary kingdom across the heart of Italy.  Cesare marches his fearsome army to lay siege to enemy Catherina Sforza’s (Gina McKee) castle at Forli.  Later, back in Rome, Cesare is embroiled in a brutal scuffle with Lucrezia’s (Grainger) husband Alfonso, who as a result, is now dying a slow and painful death over the subsequent days.  Devastated, Lucrezia turns to her potions to end his life painlessly, with Cesare vowing that now she will be his for good.

Season-to-date, THE BORGIAS averages 2.4 million weekly viewers across platforms, on par with its sophomore season through the same time frame, with its most recent eighth episode delivering the series highest-rated episode and night this season. In addition to Irons' Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by a Television Actor in a Drama, the series has earned a total of 10 Emmy nominations to-date, earning two awards in its second season for Outstanding Costumes and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

Jordan serves as executive producer, writer and director of select episodes.  The third season is also executive produced by Jack Rapke, Darryl Frank, John Weber, Sheila Hockin and James Flynn.  THE BORGIAS is a Canadian-Irish-Hungarian Treaty co-production.


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  • Kel

    I will never watch another series on show time and ill cancel my subscription to show time. A great sage like the Borgias not being supported by the show exectuvies is very sad

  • ahhs75

    so so disappointed. how refreshing to have a historical/ fictional show. so many horror/ violent shows already on the tv and big screen. borgias had beautiful costumes and sets. sorry to see the docudrama go. camelot show. too bad the public is so uneducated they don’t enjoy the classics!

  • suzyg

    So sad. Borgias has been a fab program. Expertly cast with top notch writing and attention to detail in all aspects. It will be sorely missed.
    I would hope for a movie to finish it up. please.

  • zonian123

    Pathetic – the acting is powerful/ The storyline is engaging and the cinema photography is right out of an Italian Painting! Have no idea why they would
    want to nix it just as people are finding out about it. I’m really disappointed!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cathy

    Good television is a tool used in our house to unwind and relax. The Borgia’s was our favorite show. I have read many books on the Borgia’s since the creation of this series. Now it looks like the Game of Thrones will be at the top of our viewing list. It makes me a little disgusted with showtime. There is still much that could be done with the series and there are so many loose ends. It seems like a poor decision on their part, and a real disappointment to the loyal viewers.

  • Oneeye

    Show time is -2 for the year, what’s left?

  • Philip

    @Oneeye Homeland, Shameless, House of lies, Nurse Jackie, and Ray Donavan.

  • Tessa

    Not surprised. I love period dramas but this show bore me to death. There was very little going on in it beyond different characters talking in different settings. Did they take the dive and portray the incest as it was recorded in history? I don’t know. I didn’t get that far, but I doubt it.

  • Aram

    Will miss the intriguing plots, lavish sets, fascinating historical setting, phenomenal writing and high caliber acting. We live in a culture that values dancing celebrities, snarky housewives and the cutthroat reality shows. They may be amusing in their own right but we have sacrificed something more valuable when viewers are not drawn to dramas like this and the parent network fails to nourish it. The Borgias may be “boring” to minds dulled by blunt reality but some of us still like to be enlightened and amazed by quality programming. Sorry to see you go Borgias. If you do the movie, I’ll be there!

  • Jenna

    Jeremy Irons is phenomenal! – as we’re the others notably the exquisite Holliday Grainger and the incredible Francois Arnaud. Personally I think the christocentric confusion of a cluster- muck DaVinci’s Code drew folks away from the magnificent Borgias as Americans prefer their Christianity in your face even though the blatant use of cloaked occult inferences pepper DC – but it still looks oh so Christian.
    Bah! Very rarely we get to see quality actors – and the Borgias was a feast.
    If anyone starts a petition to at least get the two hour movie reinstated let me know. I’ll sign.

  • CCV

    Not shocked, but disappointed. Jordan’s plan was four seasons anyway…was hoping it would just get that one last renewal. More urgently, I wonder what this means for that so-called ending movie they were discussing. I roll my eyes when I hear that, but still, curious to know if that’s going to happen.

  • ildi


  • ildi


  • The End


    As much as I respect your opinion and can see where you’re coming from. I’ll still stick with the ratings as the only reason why this show was canceled.

    On the one hand the show is rating poorly, and on the other you have the overall cost of the show, and the fact it’s rating much worse than shows that cost less.

    Basically I believe Showtime are basically saying that the ratings no longer justify the existence of the show to the network and that’s why they canceled it.

  • fertily

    Thats not right, I was looking forward to see season 4. It was a surprised to see the Bogias go. Someone need to get off their behinds n do their job. See what the public likes n wants. I love the cast they r all good actors n actess..

  • bob

    who cares…

  • DEB

    This is ridiculous. They could have renewed. They show such crap on Showtime, finally a good one comes along and they cancel. DUMB!

  • Montecore

    @the end, Homeland is almost like a fantasy show, I have never seen or heard of a veteran getting that kind of positive treatment since Sgt. York. There are people who prefer shows like Homeland, but there are also people who enjoy a good drama based on historical facts.

    The main reason many people didn’t watch The Borgias is because you had to use your brain to watch it. At the rate the intelligence rate is dropping it won’t be long before TV is saturated by animated and relaity shows, at that reruns of The Big Bang Theory will be shown on the History Channel as a drama.

  • jvitolo

    It probably didn’t help there was another Borgia TV show airing as well. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten the two confused.

  • thesnowleopard

    @The End

    I don’t think you quite understand what I’m getting at. Just which ratings do you mean? The business model for premium cable is significantly different than it is for network TV or even basic cable. It is a subscription model not a strictly ad, or demo, based model. Hence why the budgeting and structure of the seasons are so different.

    By Showtime standards, The Borgias was a hit. It lasted more than one season. It wasn’t yanked from the schedule after its first few episodes. It got put out on DVD in a timely manner. It won awards. It had a coherent end that the creator insisted was intentional. There were also the usual signs of fatigue in an intentionally short-lived series–a head writer who wanted out being the notable one.

    I’m sorry, but your theory that Showtime took three seasons to realize that The Borgias got low ratings is rather silly. Since it got those two extra seasons, the show obviously made *somebody* money, which means it was a hit by Showtime standards. They just had reached the balancing point between cost and profit, something everyone involved appears to have seen coming.

    These prestige historical dramas are always expensive and are always designed to last only a few seasons. Maybe, if The Borgias had been a runaway ratings hit, it might have been stretched out another season, but it still got one season more than Rome, which appears to have originally been designed for three. And I very much doubt its cancellation will deter Showtime from ordering a new costume epic drama.

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