ROME — The second series of “Gomorrah,” Italy’s naturalistic Neapolitan mob show, which is the country’s biggest all-time TV export, has ended its Italian run scoring gangbuster ratings on Sky Italia.
The show, set to make its U.S. debut on SundanceTV on Aug. 24 with season one, has become the Murdoch-owned pay-TV platform’s highest-rated scripted series, and its top non-sports content in Italy.
Italian ratings for “Gomorrah” have been far higher than the latest seasons of “House of Cards” or “Game of Thrones,” and of any Hollywood blockbuster.
The 12-episode “Gomorrah 2,” which started airing in Italy in May, scored an average of close to 2 million viewers per episode — out of Sky’s 4.7 million Italian subscriber base — during its first local linear TV run, which ended last week.
Sky Italy content chief Andrea Scrosati is boasting 93% Italian viewer loyalty, or the portion of its audience who chose to watch subsequent episodes after tuning in once.
He called the loyalty number “the highest ever on Sky.” The show also scored a 66% ratings increase compared with results of the first “Gomorrah” season, which had in itself been considered stellar.
Elsewhere “Gomorrah 2” has also been playing well on Sky in the U.K. and Germany, though nothing comparable to its Italian numbers. This is partly due to the fact that in those countries it’s a foreign-language show with subtitles.
“My colleagues in the U.K. and Germany – especially Gary Davey [Sky Managing Director of Content] – feel that this show is one of the top European priorities for the company,” said Scrosati. “And the feedback they have given me is that its consumption, and passion score, in those two countries is growing.”
Numbers for “Gomorrah 2” on Sky in the U.K. are in line with those for the first series, which Scrosati said pulled in an average of roughly 200,000 viewers per episode.
Comedian Ricky Gervais is known to be a big fan. In a recent tweet he enthused that “Gomorrah” “could be the TV series of the decade.”
“Gomorrah 2” will be going out this fall on the Canal Plus paybox in France where the first installment scored a robust average of roughly 800,000 viewers per episode in a dubbed version. For France being dubbed, rather than in original language, “makes a big difference,” Scrosati noted. However dubbing it in English-language countries would be problematic because it would completely lose the naturalism provided by the Neapolitan dialect. This dialect is so genuine that subtitles are available even for Italian viewers.
In Spain the first series went out in the original version with subtitles on free-TV channel La Sexta, where it doubled that channel’s average in a late-evening time slot.
Germany’s Beta Film has now sold “Gomorrah” in 150 countries.
Season three of the show, produced by Sky in collaboration with Italy’s Cattleya and Fandango, is now in script-review stage, with shooting expected to start in October.
Scrosati said the Neapolitan action will shift from the city’s suburban Scampia area into central Naples, mirroring the current reality of gang wars being waged by the Camorra, as the Neapolitan mob is known.
The TV series is an adaptation of author Roberto Saviano’s best-selling investigation into the Camorra. Saviano’s book also served as the basis for the “Gomorrah” feature film by Matteo Garrone which won the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix in 2008.