Critical Darling ‘The Borgias’ Axed by Showtime

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The BorgiasDespite a run that earned it 10 Emmys, The Borgias is ending. Its ratings were steady but unspectacular, last Sunday’s premiere pulling 804,000 viewers. Production costs are high for the period drama which is filmed in Budapest, Hungary. Star Jeremy Irons is probably not cheap either. He portrays Borgia patriarch Pope Alexander VI, who engages in some decidedly unholy practices on TV.

Its June 16 third season finale will be the end.  Showtime has even scrapped plans for a two-hour movie that would have wrapped up any dangling plotlines. Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins said he didn’t want a movie that could be anticlimactic and ruin what he feels is a good ending.

After The Tudors and Game of Thrones, The Borgias’ greatest enemy may have been the heightened expectations for period pieces about ruling families. Showrunner Neil Jordan has revealed how he wanted things to end. He said the pope would be dying and unable to find someone to hear his confession. When he finally does, the confessor explains it is too late. That’s because the Pope is already dead and burning in hell. Jordan revealing that seems to indicate he has no hopes for a movie or any other continuation of The Borgias. Still, better to leave the airwaves too early than hang on too long.

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