Second Season of Sky’s Gritty ‘Gomorrah’ TV Series Bows to Boffo Ratings in Italy

ROME — The second season of pan-European paybox Sky’s gritty Italian crime skein “Gomorrah” bowed Tuesday scoring record-breaking ratings in Italy where its first two episodes drew an average of more than 1.1 million viewers – out of a 4.7 million subscriber base.

The new season of “Gomorrah,” which is Italy’s top TV export, marked the best all-time debut on Sky’s Italian platform where it aired on several channels, including Sky Atlantic, which is dedicated to high-end dramas.

Ratings were way higher than the latest seasons of “House of Cards” or “Game of Thrones” on Sky Atlantic, and of any Hollywood blockbuster on its Sky Cinema channel.

“Gomorrah 2” features new characters, notably two ferocious female mobsters. It is set in Germany, Rome, Croatia and Honduras besides its Naples hinterland hotbed.

“Gomorrah” is produced by Murdoch-owned Sky in collaboration with Italy’s Cattleya and Fandango and in partnership with German powerhouse Beta Film, which sold the first season to a massive more than 130 territories, most of whom have re-upped. Series 3 and 4 are planned. North American sales were handled by The Weinstein Company which sold it to Sundance TV where it goes on air in August.

At a packed presentation on Monday in Rome Sky Italy content chief Andrea Scrosati reminisced about how skeptics had doubts that the show, which is spoken in Neapolitan dialect, would work in Italy, let alone the rest of the world. He called “Gomorrah” a game-changer and a risk and vowed to continue with risk-taking productions because “this is what Sky can contribute to the Italian market.”

Under Sky Italia CEO Andrea Zappia the paybox has increased its output of high-end dramas in Italy as Netflix begins to encroach and local rival Mediaset Premium regroups after forging a pact with Gallic powerhouse Vivendi.

Their standout skein in production is Paolo Sorrentino’s English-language “The Young Pope,” toplining Jude Law as conservative American pontiff Pius XIII, and starring Diane Keaton as a nun, her first recurring role in a TV series.

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