CBS-owned Showtime Is Doubling Down on Vatican-Bashing Shows

The CBS-owned Showtime cable network can't get enough Catholic-bashing. Not only are they planning a "third season of sin" inside the Vatican with The Borgias, "the saga of history's most infamous crime family," complete with warnings for graphic language, violence, and nudity.

They're also taking on the "modern-day machinations within the Catholic Church" with a "provocative contemporary genre thriller" called The Vatican, directed by Ridley Scott of the Alien movies:

The show is billed as a “a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics – set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. The series will explore the relationships and rivalries as well as the mysteries and miracles behind one of the world’s most hidden institutions.” Paul Attanasio (House) wrote the script.

The Vatican is just ordered as a pilot at this stage, but tough to imagine Showtime shelving a project after Scott directing the first episode.

The Hollywood Reporter describes this show as a "passion project" for Attanasio: "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."

Considering that it's remarkably unlikely that Pope Benedict is conducting orgies or having his rivals assassinated, it might be a little hard to give the modern series any of the "fun" they're having with the 15th century.

That's not to say that Showtime won't air a series making someone look good instead of evil. For that, they're preparing a porny-science series called Masters of Sex:

Masters of Sex is a one-hour drama starring acclaimed actors Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, who will portray the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance, and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson's couch.

It's kind of funny they'd make Masters so handsome in the series, when he looked more like Uncle Fester in real life. You can see Caplan speaking for Hollywood in the promotional video: "Women think that sex and love are the same thing. They don't have to be, they don't have to even go together." That's why their slogan is "Brace Yourself."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis