Showtime Boss Won't Rule Out 'Dexter' Spinoff
David Nevins talks with THR about the decision to end the Michael C. Hall starrer and teases big changes as the serial-killer drama comes to an end.
Showtime will bid Dexter farewell after the serial killer drama's upcoming eighth season, bringing an end to one of the premium cable network's defining series.
The official news, announced Thursday in a statement and accompanying teaser, comes after months of speculation and as the cabler prepares to use the Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter starrer to launch a new series -- celebrity fixer drama Ray Donovan -- moving the serial killer drama to June for its first summer launch.
The series, which along with Homeland, ranks as Showtime's No. 1 scripted entries; Dexter's season seven was its highest-rated yet. The news comes a year after Showtime entertainment president David Nevins made the call to end Weeds as well as the upcoming final season of The Big C.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Nevins to discuss the plan to end Dexter, if he thinks there's room for the series to spawn a spinoff and more.
The Hollywood Reporter: Was it always the plan to wrap Dexter when the series was renewed for seasons seven and eight in November 2011?
David Nevins: It was always a likely plan; I always said that was likely. I felt like the right timing was to announce it firmly just in advance of its last season. The show has such loyal, passionate and intense fans, and I wanted to handle it the right way. I wanted to leave the possibility that if something changed … but it became clear as we talked between last season and this season that they had an endgame. Once Deb (Carpenter) crossed the line she did when she found out, it was leading to the endgame.
THR: How much input are you having on the final trajectory of what happens with this character?
Nevins: I'm certainly involved in the discussions. The creative is being fundamentally driven by [showrunner] Scott Buck and John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton and Michael C. Hall. They've been the bedrock of this show and this character since the beginning. I have input, but I don't want to give any suggestions about where it's going to end. I'm really excited. How we end the show is really important; this is such a core franchise, and it's important we do it the right way. They have an amazing and fitting end in store.
THR: We've heard from various producers that consequences have been a more prominent theme on Dexter, Nurse Jackie and Shameless as well as the upcoming final episodes of The Big C. How will that factor into the final year of Dexter?
Nevins: The consequences are already starting to hit him. It's jeopardized his most important relationship on Earth, which is with his sister; his other relationships on the show will be touched this year and he's still changing. Change is really important in a long-running series, change to the characters and change to the format of the show. The show is constantly changing. We saw a big change last year in that it wasn't so driven by one big antagonist. I don't like when shows get formulaic, and Dexter changed its formula last year and will change again this year -- there's a lot of different things in play. Part of what you need to do in a finale is start bringing some of the different threads together: his sister, his son, his love life, his professional life and his childhood trauma.
THR: We've heard rumblings of a potential Deb-focused spinoff. Is that something you're considering? Would you want to continue on with the franchise?
Nevins: All options are on the table as to where it could go after this. There's nothing actively happening, but you never know what the future holds. We need to get through this season and see how the dust settles and then see where we go from there. I won't rule it out, but I'm not actively planning anything.
THR: Weeds ended last year; The Big C has four final episodes and now Dexter. How many new series are you eyeing for this year beyond Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex?
Nevins: We're in a good place where we're transitioning to the next generation and our newer shows are some of our highest-rated shows. We're adding popular shows as we go. We have Homeland, which is in a great place and is still growing. Shameless is now one of our top three dramas -- maybe top two -- and is still growing. House of Lies is our highest-rated comedy. Our newer shows are still growing.
THR: On the development side, you've ordered pilots for An Affair, The Vatican and Penny Dreadful. How many more pilots are you looking to add, and how many more new series will you look to order this year?
Nevins: There will be more to come over the next nine months. We have some very exciting drama and some very exciting development, and there's more to come. Ray Donovan will be very well positioned and the episodes are really riveting, and I look forward to its pairing with Dexter.
THR: Any update on The Franchise? Are you looking for a new team?
Nevins: No update. There are conversations going on with Major League Baseball, but whether it's for this year or next year remains to be seen.