×

Sean Bean and ‘24′ Director Jon Cassar Join Second Season of ‘Medici’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sean Bean will appear in the second season of epic Italy-set period drama “Medici: Masters of Florence.” Jon Cassar, executive producer and director of “24: Legacy” and “24: Live Another Day,” has also come on board the new season.

Cassar will direct and produce four of the eight episodes of the new “Medici,” whose first season starred Dustin Hoffman and was a runaway hit for RAI 1 in Italy, notably with younger viewers. Frank Spotnitz returns and will executive produce the series.

Bean will play poker-faced scheming aristocrat Jacopo Pazzi in the new run, which will likely be called “Medici: Lorenzo the Magnificent.” It will be co-produced by Italy’s Lux Vide, public broadcaster RAI, and Frank Spotnitz’s company Big Light.

Lux Vide is one of a handful of Italy-based producers coming to international attention with big English-language productions. The second season of “Medici” has a €24 million ($27 million) budget, placing it firmly in the ranks of high-end TV drama.

The show is set in 15th-century Florence and follows the Medici banking dynasty. In the first season, Hoffman played the family patriarch and Richard Madden his son Cosimo. The new series is set 20 years later, with the producers currently in talks with Madden to have him appear in flashback sequences.

Netherlands-based cable and telecoms group Altice is moving into streaming and original programming, and its Altice Studio is also a co-production partner on “Medici.” Altice’s SFR Play streaming service will carry the show in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

Netflix has rights to the new season of “Medici” in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, and Taiwan, where it will be billed as a “Netflix Original.” Telefonica has bought it for its Movistar Plus pay service in Spain.

Shooting starts in August across locations in Italy, and will wrap by year’s end for a 2018 launch on RAI and the other platforms. Wild Bunch handled sales of the first season as it moved into TV distribution; buyers included Hulu Japan, Sky Deutschland, and Fox Latin America. The distributor for Season 2 has not been confirmed.

Lux Vide, based in Rome, is now looking to attract British and American partners as it continues to work up a slate of projects for the global market and to expand internationally. Upcoming series include “Devils,” a 10-part drama set in the world of high finance during the global financial crisis.

“Now you have global television,” said Lux Vide chief Luca Bernabei. “You’re not competing just with people in Europe, you’re competing with the U.S. and the rest of the world, and the level of investment being made is completely different. You have to make shows that are bigger than before but there is still a need for producers who can develop scripts and new ideas for the market.”

More Digital

  • Reed Hastings seen on day one

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' New Book Title, Release Date Announced

    Reed Hastings promises to share the untold story about how Netflix shifted its culture more than a decade ago — and pivoted from a DVD-by-mail company to a streaming giant — in a new book due out this spring. “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention,” is set to be released May 12, [...]

  • A-ha - Take On Me Video

    A-ha's 'Take on Me' Tops 1 Billion YouTube Views, Second '80s Video to Hit Milestone

    Norwegian synthpop trio A-ha’s “Take On Me” has joined YouTube’s billion-views club. The iconic video from A-ha, which combines live action with pencil-sketch animation, is only the second song from the 1980s to reach the elite YouTube milestone, after Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” crested the one-billion-views mark last fall (and currently has [...]

  • Terms and Conditions

    YouTube Drives Into Feature Doc Space With Brian Hill's 'Terms and Conditions' (EXCLUSIVE)

    YouTube is driving into the feature documentary space with a bold new film on drill music from one of the U.K.’s most celebrated documentarians. The controversial genre represented in the Brian Hill-directed “Terms and Conditions: A U.K. Drill Story” has become inadvertently associated with violence and knife-crime in the U.K., and marks a daring step [...]

  • America Ferrera Gentrified Variety

    With ‘Gentefied,’ America Ferrera Brings a Series Unlike Any Other to Netflix

    America Ferrera had directed before, but not like this. She and her crew were shooting scenes from a massive burner party — think a miniature Burning Man, complete with drugs and costumes and bad dancing — for Netflix’s upcoming series “Gentefied.” Though she wouldn’t appear on camera, Ferrera was dressed for the occasion in a [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse LA

    Alamo Drafthouse Unveils Monthly Subscription Service

    Alamo Drafthouse, the Texas-based cinema chain that popularized in-theater dining, is offering a subscription service to rival the AMCs and Regals of the exhibition industry. The company unveiled Season Pass, a monthly program that will be available to patrons in its 41 locations across the country. Season Pass will provide one regularly priced ticket per [...]

  • TV Decline Pay TV Placeholder

    Traditional Pay-TV Operators Lost 6 Million Subscribers in 2019 as Cord-Cutting Picks Up Speed

    The U.S. satellite and cable TV business declined at an unprecedented rate last year — with traditional pay-TV providers dropping a staggering 6 million customers, a 7% year-over-year decline. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, traditional TV distributors lost around 1.5 million subs, dropping to about 83 million total at year-end, according to estimates [...]

  • Onward Animated Film 2020

    ‘Onward’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Onward.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $4.99 million through Sunday for 784 national ad airings on 35 networks. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content