Before you can say “spousal decapitation”, Showtime will be trading in Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ baby blues for Jeremy Irons’ adolescent browns. Variety reports that the cable network has ordered ten episodes of The Borgias, a historical drama that will star Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, head of the infamously corrupt Renaissance family (think Don Corleone in a puffy shirt) and a man who, despite his unsavory reputation, became pope in 1492. The show was created by film director Neil Jordan and will be exec produced by Jordan along with Michael Hirst, whose current historical drama, The Tudors, is set to conclude its four-season run this year.
The Tudors has been a significant ratings success for Showtime. Seemingly, Borgias is being set up as a replacement. However, it’ll be interesting to see just how many viewers stick around without the alluring combination of soap opera-ish love triangles and Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ uncommon man-beauty. Regardless, the saga of Rodrigo Borgia and his family is undeniably compelling material in its own right, fraught with political intrigue, murder, and all manners of debauchery–basically everything we’ve come to love the premium cable networks for portraying so very graphically. Look for it some time in early 2011.