Showtime Cancels 'The Borgias'

'The Borgias' (Showtime) and 'Borgia' (Netflix, U.S.)

The notorious Borgia family, the 15th century dynasty that became known for spawning the worst of the bad popes, has inspired a dozen films and TV series. In Neil Jordan's Showtime series The Borgias, Jeremy Irons gives his Machiavellian best as family patriarch Rodrigo Borgia. John Doman gives that same character a tough-guy touch in Tom Fontana's French-German series Borgia, whose second season premieres March 13 on Canal Plus in France and will be available this year on Netflix in the U.S.

Showtime is ending The Borgias after three seasons.

The drama from Neil Jordan will end its run with its June 16 episode, which will now serve as series finale, Showtime announced Wednesday.

Borgias is one of the few remaining holdovers from Robert Greenblatt's era as head of Showtime. In the past year, the premium cable network has bid farewell to a handful of his other efforts including Weeds and The Big C. Dexter will also end its run after the upcoming eighth season, which premieres this month.

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Borgias, which stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI,was originally planned to run four seasons to parallel the duration of its Showtime predecessor The Tudors.

The decision to end the series comes as Showtime is prepping another religion-themed drama, The Vatican, starring Friday Night Lights favorite Kyle Chandler. The pilot, which reunites the actor with Showtime entertainment president David Nevins, hails from House's Paul Attanasio and Ridley Scott.

"It has been an honor to work with the great Neil Jordan and the incomparable Jeremy Irons on The Borgias," Nevins said. "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."

Season to date, Borgias is averaging 2.4 million viewers across multiple platforms -- on par with its sophomore outing. Its most recent episode (the eighth of the season) delivered a series high. The show has earned a total of 10 Emmy nominations to date including wins for costumes and its main-title theme music. Irons also picked up a Golden Globe nomination. 

Added Jordan: “I never thought I would make a cable series and have enjoyed every minute of it. 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.“

For his part, Nevins this year will use the final season of Dexter to launch freshman Hollywood fixer drama Ray Donovan this month and Homeland as a springboard for rookie drama Masters of Sex.

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