Showtime Renews ‘The Borgias'

Showtime has picked up a second season of period drama The Borgias, starring Jeremy Irons, the network said Monday. Ten new episodes will begin production this summer, for a 2012 debut.

Its premiere on April 3 was the best for a Showtime drama series in seven years, averaging 1.06 million viewers in its 9 p.m. debut. The Borgias pilot tallied 3.71 million cumulative viewers across multiple platforms during its premiere week.

"The Borgias has become Sunday night appointment viewing for a broad swath of our subscribers," said David Nevins, Showtime's president of entertainment. "Neil Jordan's cleverly crafted tale of a 15th century papal family has proven quickly addictive. It's a tribute to his incredible skills as an auteur and to the extraordinary cast led by Jeremy Irons that this show fits so seamlessly into our line-up of quality shows."

Season-to-date, The Borgias is pacing ahead of The Tudors season four, the highest-rated season for Showtime's previous period drama.