The series is set around the turn of the 16th century, and follows the Borgia family, an Italian dynasty of Spanish origin. It stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI with François Arnaud as Cesare, Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia, David Oakes as Juan, and Aidan Alexander as Gioffre Borgia. Colm Feore also stars as Cardinal della Rovere.
It premiered on April 3, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime in the United States and 10 p.m. Eastern (UTC−04:00) on Bravo! in Canada, and received its first major television network premiere on June 21, 2011, on Canada's CTV Television Network. The second season premiered on April 8, 2012. On May 4, 2012, Showtime ordered a third season of 10 episodes, which premiered on April 14, 2013.
On June 5, 2013, Showtime canceled the series, a season short of Jordan's planned four-season arc for the series. The cancellation was implied to be due to the expense of production, with plans for a two-hour wrap-up finale also scrapped. A fan campaign was started in an attempt to convince Showtime to revive the series. On August 12, 2013, it was announced that the two-hour series finale script would be released as an e-book, after it was determined that a movie would be too expensive to produce.