Showtime is kicking off its 2013 development season early, ordering a pilot for "The Vatican" from a pair of Oscar nominated heavy-hitters.
 
Described as "a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics -- set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church," "The Vatican" comes from writer Paul Attanasio and will be directed by Sir Ridley Scott
 
The Sony Pictures Television production will begin production next year.
 
Attanasio has earned Oscar nominations for his scripts for "Quiz Show" and "Donnie Brasco," while his strong TV resume includes "House."
 
This will be the first TV pilot for "Gladiator" and "Prometheus" director Scott. Through the Scott Free banner he shared with his late brother Tony, Scott's TV productions have included "The Good Wife," "Numb3rs" and, for Showtime, "The Hunger."
 
On the new series front, Showtime has the dramas "Ray Donovan" and "The Masters of Sex" premiering in 2013.