Will Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation Bring More Viewers to 'The Borgias'?
Will Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation Bring More Viewers to 'The Borgias'?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The Catholic world received some very strange news Monday as Pope Benedict XVI officially announced that he will be retiring his papacy at the end of the month. This marks the first time a sitting Pope has resigned in nearly 700 years. He is currently 84, making him the oldest sitting Pope in more than 100 years.

Undoubtedly his resignation, and the election of a new Pope, will be closely-watched, highly-covered events, which bring me to potentially the biggest winner from all of this news: The Borgias.

Yes, Showtime's period drama about Pope Alexander VI (aka Rodrigo Borgia) and his family will return for season 3 on Sunday, April 14 at 9pm, one and a half short months after Pope Benedict XVI's resignation takes effect.

That's pretty fortunate timing. The increased interest in all things papal could definitely drive some much-needed new viewers to The Borgias, which is all about the political intrigue behind the pontiff's hat. The show's first season did OK with slightly under 1 million viewers per episode, but season 2 dropped to a little more than half of that. A new Pope could be just the thing Showtime needs to help bring new fans to The Borgias.

This unplanned comingling of a TV series with a real-life news event has occurred in the past. During the summer before The Good Wife premiered, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's affair came out and, just when the sight of a woman standing next to her disgraced political husband felt like a cheap gimmick for a TV drama, it was suddenly fresh again.

In a more sobering example, 24 premiered shortly after 9/11, and while the events led to some editing of an airplane exploding in the pilot, the idea of seeing one man take down the terrorists became something viewers wanted to see. The influence of the post 9/11-world continued to play a part in 24's long run, even getting recognized by several politicians who cited the show for their own arguments.

Obviously Pope Benedict XVI's resignation bears little resemblance to the wicked acts of the 15th century Pope played by Jeremy Irons on The Borgias, but the simple fact that the papacy is in the news should definitely make The Borgias a show some new viewers might be willing to check out.  Many people will become interested in understanding how the papacy works and what things are like behind the scenes of the Council of Cardinals.

Showtime would be wise to capitalize on this by re-airing the first two seasons of The Borgias during the next few weeks leading up to the season 3 premiere on Sunday, April 14 at 9pm.

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(Image courtesy of Showtime)