Jeremy Irons

Jeremy Irons will headline The Borgias, a new period series that will replace The Tudors on Showtime.

"We wanted to create something else for that audience," network chief Robert Greenblatt said of The Borgias.

Watch full episodes of The Tudors

Irons will play Rodrigo Borgia, the patriarch of the Renaissance-era Italian noble family known for its profound corruption. (Fun fact: Rodrigo was once the pope!) Yet to be cast are the roles of Rodrigo's sons, Cesare and Juan, and his daughter, Lucrezia, who, legend has it, was a talented poisoner.

Irons is best known for his Oscar-winning performance as Claus von Bülow in the 1991 biopic Reversal of Fortune.

Showtime has ordered 10 episodes of the series, which is executive-produced by film director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) and Michael Hirst (The Tudors). The Borgias is scheduled to premiere in the spring of 2011.