Showtime Series Losing Germany’s Battle of the ‘Borgias’

Jonathan Hession/Showtime

21 Emmy noms, led by "The Borgias"

Ratings for Showtime’s period drama starring Jeremy Irons can’t compete with Tom Fontana’s “Borgia.”

COLOGNE, Germany – Jeremy Irons is losing the battle of the Borgias in Germany, with ratings for Showtime’s period drama a fraction of those for Tom Fontana’s similarly themed Borgia in the territory.The Borgias, directed by Neil Jordan and starring Irons as the unscrupulous “bad pope” Rodrigo Borgia, drew just 2.2 million viewers on its German debut on commercial network Pro7. Fontana’s Borgia, which stars The Wire’s John Dorman as Rodrigo, pulled an audience of 6.21 million in its German series debut on pubweb ZDF last month.

Both Borgias have had trouble holding on to their German fans. Only 4.7 million Germans tuned in to the Borgia finale while ratings plunged for the second episode of The Borgias on Pro7, with only 1.7 million watching.  Fontana’s Borgia bowed via Netflix in the U.S..