Vatican Drama Borgia Takes Unconventional Distribution Path

The latest project from showrunner Tom Fontana, writer/producer of acclaimed shows such as “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Oz,” is not currently available via cable or broadcast in the U.S. Instead, the historical Vatican drama “Borgia” was launched without a network, has aired in France, and is now looking to additional options, including streaming. Adweek talks with Fontana about the unorthodox path the show has taken.

“In an unprecedented move, production company Atlantique hired Fontana to create the historical drama without a network — it’s already aired on French premium channel Canal+ — and now that it’s in Season 2, the ‘Borgia’ team is trying to get some stateside attention. Believers already include Netflix Streaming and Amazon Instant Video,” reports Adweek.

“What’s remarkable to me about it is that there was a time when you couldn’t go to Europe and make a TV series unless it had a network or a studio attached to it,” suggests Fontana. “Atlantique said, ‘We just want to do this; all we want is an American showrunner. We don’t need the money; we just need the expertise.'”

The show has streamed on Netflix and efforts are being made to get it possible exposure via more traditional venues, where Fontana suggests there is more money. “The one thing that traditional television still has that none of [the streaming services] have is in-your-face, pop-culture-y recognition,” he notes. “It’s ironic because the show is a hit in 55 countries, just not America.”

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