In Showtime’s first pilot order for 2013, the pay cable network has greenlighted a high-profile drama from Oscar nominees Paul Attanasio and Ridley Scott. Titled The Vatican, the project is described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Said to evoke The Sopranos and Upstairs Downstairs, the series will explore the relationships and rivalries as well as the mysteries and miracles behind one of the world’s most hidden institutions.
The Vatican, produced by Sony Pictures TV in association with Showtime and Scott Free, has been a passion project for House executive producer Attanasio, who has been working on it for a couple of years. His script started heating up at Showtime a few weeks ago, forcing Attanasio to pull out of the Rake series adaptation starring Greg Kinnear, which Sony TV was shopping. The pay cable network then proceeded with attaching an A-list director before giving the project a green light. I hear a quartet of top feature directors circled the drama, with Ridley Scott ultimately signing on for what will be his pilot directing debut. CAA-repped Attanasio and WME-repped Scott executive produce with Scott Free’s David Zucker (The Good Wife).