Jeremy Irons and Holliday Grainger Star in Acclaimed Series from Neil Jordan
Following the success of Versailles, Ovation TV, America’s only arts network, continues to showcase premium scripted drama series. The network has acquired the basic cable rights to another impressive costume drama: The Borgias. Originally aired on the Showtime network, the series stars Oscar® winner Jeremy Irons in his Golden Globe®-nominated role as Pope Alexander VI, the cunning, manipulative patriarch of the infamous Borgia dynasty, who builds an empire by bribing, buying and muscling his way into the papacy. All three seasons of The Borgias will air on Ovation TV on Saturdays at 10pm ET, starting Saturday, May 27, 2017.
The epic saga of The Borgias, a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of history’s most infamous dynastic families, was created by Academy Award®-winner and Emmy® nominee Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire). The series also stars Holliday Granger, François Arnaud, David Oakes, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek, Sean Harris, Gina McKee, Peter Sullivan, Julian Bleach and Colm Feore.
Two episodes will air back-to-back every Saturday night. See below for episode descriptions for all three seasons:
Episode 1 – The Poisoned Chalice – Saturday, May 27 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia schemes and bribes his way into being elected head of the Catholic Church as Pope Alexander VI, and has his son Cesare named a cardinal. Another son, Juan, is put in charge of the papal armies, and daughter Lucrezia is maneuvered into a politically expedient marriage.
Episode 2 – The Assassin – Saturday, May 27 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Newly elected Pope Alexander VI tries to solidify his power over the College of Cardinals by creating new posts and filling them with his hand-picked clerics. Meanwhile, Cardinal Della Rovere finds a servant who observed the new pope’s sexual dalliances and hopes to use her against him. But Cesare’s trusted new henchman, Micheletto, infiltrates Della Rovere’s camp and takes care of the witness.
Episode 3 – The Moor – Saturday, June 3 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Jews displaced by the Spanish Inquisition receive a welcome in Rome—for a price. Meanwhile, the pope contemplates a marriage of political expedience for Lucrezia; Cesare sends Micheletto to Naples to assassinate Cardinal Della Rovere; and young Juan is given the task of killing a Turkish prince, which would help the Borgias replenish their seriously depleted coffers.
Episode 4 – Lucrezia’s Wedding – Saturday, June 3 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Lucrezia is deeply disappointed to discover her real mother has been banned from her wedding to Giovanni Sforza, whom she’s never met. Meanwhile, Della Rovere goes to Florence to broker a deal with the powerful Medici family and meets with their adviser Machiavelli. At the wedding reception, the bride’s brothers Juan and Cesare create serious breaches of etiquette, with the latter causing a scene by dancing and flirting with an influential baron’s wife.
Episode 5 – The Borgias in Love – Saturday, June 10 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Lucrezia turns her attentions to a handsome young stable boy as a temporary escape from her loveless marriage. Meanwhile, Cesare has fallen in love with an influential baron’s wife and takes drastic steps to ensure she will become his. On the political front, Cesare persuades Machiavelli to reconsider his pact with Della Rovere, which would allow French troops passage through Florence.
Episode 6 – The French King – Saturday, June 10 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
When Pope Alexander learns that Della Rovere is seeking to form an alliance with France’s King Charles, he decides to forge a union between Rome and Naples by marrying off his youngest son to the older Neapolitan princess. Meanwhile, with her husband laid up, Lucrezia intensifies her affair with the stable boy; and Ursula discovers who was responsible for her husband’s death.
Episode 7 – Death, on a Pale Horse – Saturday, June 17 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
The armies of the French invade Italy and decimate the town of Lucca as Della Rovere comes to comprehend what damage he has wrought with his warmongering as many powerful Italian leaders flee the onslaught. Meanwhile, the pope dispatches Giulia to discover what she can glean from Lucrezia, whom she finds with child; Cesare follows Ursula to a convent, where she spurns his advances; and in Milan, Leonardo da Vinci schools King Charles of France and Della Rovere on his concepts of battle.
Episode 8 – The Art of War – Saturday, June 17 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Paolo helps Lucrezia and Giulia escape Giovanni’s estate, but the women wind up as captives of the advancing French army. At the Vatican, Pope Alexander worries whether his few remaining troops will be able to stop the invaders’ march on Rome. After charming the French king, Lucrezia is able to intercede and talk Juan, leader of the overmatched papal army, into retreating. Later, Della Rovere enjoins King Charles to continue his trek to Rome and the unprotected pope.
Episode 9 – Nessuno (Nobody) – Saturday, June 24 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Pope Alexander, abandoned by his cardinals, faces Charles, whom he crowns “King of France and Naples” and hopes that gesture and his humility will be enough to save his papacy. Meanwhile, Della Rovere is concerned after Charles abandons him; and Lucrezia gives birth to a son in a convent and the Borgia family secure an annulment of her marriage.
Episode 1 – The Borgia Bull – Saturday, July 1 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
The King of France revenges himself on King Alfonso of Naples for the plague, and after finding pornographic frescoes, decides to revive Roman bacchanalia.
Episode 2 – Paolo – Saturday, July 1 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Paolo, the young stable hand from Pesaro, arrives in Rome hoping to reunite with Lucrezia and their child, whom he’s never seen; Giulia turns her attention to doing charity work and takes a disguised Alexander out among the people to observe the plight of the poor. Later, a kindly prostitute helps arrange a rendezvous between Paolo and Lucrezia.
Episode 3 – The Beautiful Deception – Saturday, July 8 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Alexander tells a grief-stricken Lucrezia that, because Paolo committed suicide, he cannot be given a Christian burial, so she refuses to eat or feed her baby in protest. Meanwhile, the French army is on the march from Naples and intent on laying siege to Rome.
Episode 4 – Stray Dogs – Saturday, July 8 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Micheletto helps Cesare recruit mercenaries to exact revenge on the French troops who burned the nunnery where Ursula resided; Pope Alexander’s canny alliance building proves richly rewarding; and Lucrezia embraces Giulia’s mission to help Rome’s poor.
Episode 5 – The Choice – Saturday, July 15 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
The pope sends Cesare to the castle of the Sforzas to demand their allegiance, but Cesare returns with more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, Alexander goes incognito to Florence to listen to the fiery preachings of Savonarola.
Episode 6 – Day of Ashes – Saturday, July 15 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Alexander is convinced that a lightning strike on St. Peter’s Basilica was an ominous sign of God’s disapproval, so he begins a taxing fast for Lent. Elsewhere, Cesare plans a daring heist of Medici gold in an effort to prove to his father that he is capable of leading the papal army.
Episode 7 – The Siege at Forli – Saturday, July 22 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Alexander, proud and impressed by Juan’s triumphant campaign in Spain, sends his son to lay siege to the castle of Catherina Sforza, where his ignoble behavior and a startling turn of events bring to light his true colors. In Rome, Lucrezia schemes to get out of a planned marriage to a rich merchant of Genoa. And in Florence, Cesare and Machiavelli bear witness to Savonarola’s calculated and destructive “Bonfire of the Vanities.”
Episode 8 – Truth and Lies – Saturday, July 22 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Upon his return to Rome, Juan spins an elaborate yarn about how he received his “battle wounds,” but Cesare is unconvinced and determined to learn the truth. Meanwhile, Lucrezia takes a lover, the younger brother of her intended; and Della Rovere recruits an accomplice for his assassination plot.
Episode 9 – World of Wonders – Saturday, July 29 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Alexander marks the Easter holiday with a glorious celebration and an end to his pious fast, while Della Rovere’s assassin gets even closer to the pope. Meanwhile, Lucrezia’s lover asks her father for her hand in marriage; and Juan’s increasingly erratic behavior endangers his sister’s child.
Episode 10 – The Confession – Saturday, July 29 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
A tragic revelation leaves the family in shock; Cesare tortures Savonarola to no avail; and a new suitor works his charms on a flirtatious Lucrezia. Meanwhile, Della Rovere’s assassin makes a move.
Episode 1 – The Face of Death – Saturday, August 5 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
In the Season 3 premiere, the poisoned Pope Alexander fights for his life and the cardinals jockey to take over the papacy, while Cesare and Micheletto try to track the assassin. Meanwhile, Della Rovere readies to make his move; and Catherina Sforza dispatches her own personal assassin to unseat the Borgias.
Episode 2 – The Purge – Saturday, August 5 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Pope Alexander seeks revenge against the cardinals who moved against him; and Catherina Sforza orders Rufio to rally support from the mercenary warlords of the Romagna families. Meanwhile, Lucrezia becomes annoyed with her future in-laws
Episode 3 – Siblings – Saturday, August 12 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
One of the purged cardinals sets the Vatican treasury ablaze; and Cesare travels to Naples to deal with King Ferdinand’s arrogant refusal to accept Giovanni as Lucrezia’s child. Later, after his wedding to Lucrezia, Alfonso senses the political winds are shifting, and not to his liking.
Episode 4 – The Banquet of Chestnuts – Saturday, August 12 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Cardinal Farnese is placed in the Treasury and quickly discovers Versucci’s theft. Meanwhile, Alexander calls for a Crusade when he learns of Venice’s request for help; the Cardinals participate in the banquet of chestnuts; and King Ferdinand discovers that Lucrezia and Alfonso’s marriage has not been consummated.
Episode 5 – The Wolf and the Lamb – Saturday, August 19 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Machiavelli ensures that Cesare’s diplomatic mission to France is a success. Back in Rome, Bianca makes a drastic statement. Meanwhile, Lucrezia travels to Naples accompanied by her husband and Micheletto, and she plots against King Ferdinand, when she learns that the king will not recognize little Giovanni at court.
Episode 6 – Relics – Saturday, August 19 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Alexander believes his authority is being challenged when Cesare lands in northern Italy with a French army and plans to destroy the Sforza dynasty. Meanwhile, Catherina plots to use biological warfare; and punitive taxes are imposed on the newly arrived Jewish community to fund Alexander’s Crusade.
Episode 7 – Lucrezia’s Gambit – Saturday, August 26 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Cesare burns Constanzo’s palace in order to contain the plague. Meanwhile, Lucrezia seeks a Neapolitan power base for herself and her family, and she blackmails Prince Raphael; and Prince Frederigo replaces Ferdinand as king.
Episode 8 – Tears of Blood – Saturday, August 26 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Catherina Sforza plans to ruin the Jubilee celebration in Rome; Lucrezia realizes that she is under constant watch from the royal guard; a plot to deceive the Borgia family is uncovered.
Episode 9 – The Gunpowder Plot – Saturday, September 2 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Devastated by his betrayal, Micheletto kills his lover and disappears. Meanwhile, Cesare races to Naples to rescue Lucrezia; and Alexander tries to corner the market in Italian sulfur, which is the key ingredient to gunpowder.
Episode 10 – The Prince – Saturday, September 2 at 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Alexander and Cesare reconciling. Cesare marches his army to lay siege to Forli; and Micheletto reappears. Meanwhile, a drunken Alfonso nears death following a fight with Cesare, and Lucrezia turns to her potions to painlessly end his life.