Tom Fontana’s ‘Borgia’ Ratings Slip

Jiri Hanzl

The German audience for the fourth episode of the medieval period drama is down by more than 1.5 million.

COLOGNE, Germany – Borgia, the ambitious medieval drama series starring John Dorman (The Wire) and created by Tom Fontana (Oz) has started to lose viewers in Germany, the only territory where the show is aired on free TV.

4.6 million German viewers tuned in to watch the fourth episode of Borgia on pubweb ZDF Monday night, more than 1.5 million fewer than caught the series’ premiere last week.

Borgia, like Showtime’s similarly-themed The Borgias, starring Jeremy Irons, traces the tumultuous lives of the Borgia family, medieval Rome’s most notorious and power-hungry clan.

While Monday’s episode of Borgia drew a still-respectable 13.7 percent market share, it was battered by the one-two punch of reality series Farmer Wants A Wife and gameshow Who Wants a Millionaire on commercial net RTL. Some 8.3 million Germans watched Farmer (a 25.5 percent share) while 7.8 million, or 23.3per cent, caught Millionaire.

Borgia was financed without a U.S. broadcaster on board (though Netflix has since picked up streaming rights for the series). So the show’s performance in Europe is key to its survival. Borgia has had a successful run on France’s Canal + and Sky Italia but it still needs German support if it is to return for a second season.

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