Second Season of Tom Fontana’s ‘Borgia’ Likely After Strong German Bow

Jiri Hanzl

6.2 million German viewers watched the premiere of the medieval drama starring "The Wire's" John Dorman.

COLOGNE, Germany – A second season of Borgia is looking more likely after Tom Fontana’s papal period drama bowed to an impressive 6.2 million viewers on its German premiere on public network ZDF Monday night.

The 18.7 percent market share wasn’t good enough to beat reality show Farmer Wants a Wife on commercial net RTL, which drew 8 million viewers, but it is likely enough to convince ZDF executives still on the fence about a second season of the ambitious series.

Borgia debuted to 1.7 million viewers on Canal + earlier this month, a record audience for a new series premiere on the French pay TV network and racked up a respectable 420,000 viewers on Italian pay channel Sky Italia. Netflix, which has picked up North American rights to Borgia, is already on board for a second series of the show, should the European networks greenlight it.

Like Showtime’s The Borgias starring Jeremy Irons, the series follows medieval Rome’s most notorious and power hungry family. John Dorman stars as the patriarch, Rodrigo Borgia, the man who became Pope Alexander VI.

Initially, Fontana and The Borgias director Neil Jordan discussed merging the two Borgia projects into one series but parted over their differing interpretations of the history.