The Borgias Renewed ShowtimeFour episodes into its second season, Showtime‘s Renaissance drama The Borgias has been renewed for a 10-episode third season to premiere in 2013. Production is slated to begin this summer in Budapest. The second season of The Borgias launched with 604,000 viewers, down 43% from last year’s series debut. (The premiere’s total has since grown to 2.6 million.) Still, the Jeremy Irons-starring drama is the most watched of Showtime’s current lineup: In its most recent airing, it drew 579,000 viewers at 10 PM, vs. 474,000 for Nurse Jackie and 429,000 for The Big C. There is no word on the fate of those two comedies, with Nurse Jackie‘s chances looking better. The pickup brings The Borgias closer to the producers’ goal to wrap the story in four seasons, as revealed at TCA last summer. It also comes on the heels of the competing European-produced Borgia series being renewed for a second season.

THE BORGIAS stars Oscar®=-winner Irons as Pope Alexander VI, the cunning, manipulative patriarch of the infamous Italian Renaissance family who builds an empire by bribing, buying and muscling his way into the papacy.  In addition to Irons, season two also stars François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek, David Oakes, and Colm Feore.  As the series continues to unfold, the greatest existential threat to Alexander’s Papacy may not come from foreign adversaries or ambitious political operatives, but may linger within his most trusted inner circle – his family.  The cunning Cesare engages his dark side; the profligate Juan turns murderous and ostracized by his family; and the increasingly independent Lucrezia refuses to be a pawn in her family’s continued quest for power.  The second season is executive produced by Neil Jordan, Jack Rapke, Justin Falvey, David Leland, John Weber, Sheila Hockin and James Flynn.  It is a Canadian-Irish-Hungarian Treaty co-production.  Last year, the series earned Emmy Awards for Outstanding Costumes and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

For season three, Academy Award-winner and Emmy nominee Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire), will continue to serve as creator, executive producer, and will serve as writer and director of select episodes.

Season two of THE BORGIAS currently, airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and will finale on Sunday, June 17th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.