Canal Plus reups Fontana’s ‘Borgia’

Dearbhla Walsh, Christoph Schrewe to helm

PARIS — Tom Fontana’s Renaissance-set drama series “Borgia” has been greenlit for a second season of 12 hourlongs, budgeted at €30 million ($39.7 million) — $6.6 million more than the first season.

The new season will be helmed by Ireland’s Dearbhla Walsh (“The Tudors”) and Germany’s Christoph Schrewe (“The Sea Wolf”).

Produced by Lagardere Entertainment’s Atlantique Prods. and Jan Mojto’s EOS Entertainment, the skein was commissioned by Fabrice de la Patelliere for French pay TV giant Canal Plus.

Repped by Mojto’s sales outfit, Beta Film, the second season has already been pre-bought by Netflix for the U.S. and U.K. Beta is in advanced negotiations with the Euro broadcasters who aired season one: commercial web Cosmopolitan TV in Spain, paybox Sky Italia in Italy, and pubcasters ZDF in Germany and ORF in Austria.

While season one followed Rodrigo Borgia (John Doman) and his controversial election as Pope Alexander VI, season two opens in 1494 and centers on the family’s efforts to maintain control over the Vatican. It also depicts the career of Cesare Borgia (Mark Ryder) as a military leader in command of the papal army.

Skein will introduce iconic figures of the Renaissance including Niccolo Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Doman and Ryder will play opposite Art Malik, Isolda Dychauk, Andrea Sawatzki, Marta Gastini and Assumpta Serna.

The eight-month shoot started Monday in Prague, Czech Republic, and Italy.

EOS producer Ferdinand Dohna said, “Many scenes will be shot at original locations in Italy such as the medieval castle of the Orsini in Bracciano or the splendid Renaissance villa of the Farnese in Caprarola.”

Fontana’s “Borgia” has sold to more than 50 countries despite the fact that Showtime’s skein about the family, “The Borgias,” starring Jeremy Irons, hit the market around the same time.

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