Is the end of Dexter nigh?
The serial killer drama will return on Sunday, June 30 at 9/8c, earlier than its intended fall premiere, Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins announced at the winter TV previews on Saturday. Dexter will act as a lead-in for new series Ray Donovan at 10/9c, having already proven to be a successful launchpad for Homeland.
Showtime is able to move up Dexter's eighth season because an end game is in sight, even though Nevins refused to confirm if that would happen in Season 8 or beyond. "I'm not making any announcements about when Dexter will end," he said. "Before Dexter goes on the air for their next season, there will be a clear end game in place, but I can't talk about it. The decision of when Dexter will end is ultimately a creative decision and made on creative reasons." Nevins also added that the series didn't have to rush its production schedule to air by summer because of advance warning and "they've known where they are going."
In turn, Showtime will use Homeland for its fall launch of Masters of Sex on Sept. 29. Although Homeland earned record numbers for the network, an average of 7.5 million viewers in its finale week, it also received critical backlash for its over-the-top story lines in the second half of its sophomore season. "I really liked Season 2. I think it started really strong and it ended really strong," said Nevins, defending the series' creative choices. "Suspension of disbelief is the scaffolding all storytelling is based on ... There was a truth in the storytelling that overcomes all... Homeland is in a very interesting place. They made the decision to end this season in a fairly clear setup for Season 3." Nevins would not confirm whether Damian Lewis would return to reprise his role as Brody. "It's perfectly fair to ask, but how fun would it be if I gave you any of those spoilers?" he said.
Check out what else is in store for Showtime:
Showtime documentaries: The Years of Living Dangerously, a multiepisode series about climate change, will premiere in the fall and boasts such big names as Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Ed Norton and James Cameron. The World According to Dick Cheney will premiere March 15. Antoine Fuqua's Suge Knight doc will premiere in April, while Richard Pryor: A Mythologic will air in the summer and LT, about the life and times of football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, will be ready for fall.
The Vatican: This first of two scripted series in development is a contemporary genre thriller that examines political intrigue inside The Vatican. Ridley Scott will direct the pilot.
Penny Dreadful: The second scripted series in development is from John Logan and Sam Mendes and unites literary characters such as Dorian Gray, Frankenstein and Dracula in Victorian London. The treatment of the characters will be "very realistic, very grounded," and the show itself will be "psychological" and "erotic." Sexy beasts!
The Borgias: In the historical drama's third season, Cesare and Lucrezia will come into their full power, which will affect Alexander. "It gets very intense," Nevins said.
Masters of Sex: Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star in this drama about famed "sexperts" Masters and Johnson that Nevins insists feels contemporary even though it's a period show. "Masters of Sex feels like a show that only we can get away with, that only pay cable can get away with," he said, but added that the network makes an effort not to be salacious.
Gigolos: Nevins cheekily called Gigolos "the cornerstone of our late-night franchise."
The Franchise: Although the show earned buzz last year by breaking the news of Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins, another season isn't assured. "It's a question of finding the right team and making sure we have the right cooperation," Nevins said. "It won't be officially green-lit until we get one of the teams we want."
Episodes: A third season will go into production and split its time equally between London and Los Angeles. It will air sometime in early 2014.
House of Lies: This season, Matt Damon will guest-star as himself, a celebrity client of Galweather & Stern, who wants to set up a charitable foundation so that he can be as altruistic as his pal George Clooney.