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'Dexter' Spinoff Update: Showtime Boss Wants to Keep the Franchise 'Alive'

"There are a bunch of different ways to do it. I hope that whatever we do will feel both original and in keeping with what people expect out of 'Dexter,' " Showtime entertainment president David Nevins tells THR.

Michael C. Hall David Nevins Inset - H 2013
Randy Tepper/Showtime/Getty Images
"Dexter" and David Nevins, inset

Showtime entertainment president David Nevins wants to keep the Dexter franchise in business.

The executive, who oversaw the conclusion of the series that helped put the cable network on the map for original programming, has been fielding questions about whether the Michael C. Hall-Jennifer Carpenter-starrer would continue on in a new form since Showtime confirmed that its current eighth season would be Dexter's last.

"We're nowhere yet, but I do feel like Dexter is such a core franchise to Showtime," Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter at a September Paley Center event celebrating the series. "Arguably, Dexter is to Showtime what Spider-Man is to Sony or Batman is to Warner Bros., so I think it's going to be important for us to keep it alive."

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In April, Nevins said that "all options were on the table" when THR asked if Showtime would explore rumblings about a Dexter spinoff built around Carpenter's Deb, which now doesn't seem to be the case both in terms of her storyline or what the actress is open to doing. "I think I have played Deb from start to finish," Carpenter said at this month's Paley event.

The series will end its run on Sunday with a finale that Carpenter said feels "appropriate and right" and will allow her to close the book on Debra Morgan, who was shot and called for help in Dexter's penultimate episode.

With Deb's future not looking so bright, Nevins admitted that the network spends a considerable amount of time pondering what the franchise's afterlife could look like. (For its part, AMC recently reached an agreement for a Breaking Bad spinoff -- potential prequel Better Call Saul, featuring Bob Odenkirk's character -- and is prepping a Walking Dead scripted companion series.)

"We spend a lot of time talking about how we keep the show alive, so it may be a more complicated original idea than just a spinoff," Nevins said of the potential follow-up, which likely would come from Dexter showrunner Scott Buck, who recently inked a two-year development deal with the network. 

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Nevins said that while the series will continue to have a presence on Showtime and its digital and mobile platforms -- it's one of the most watched shows on the network and beyond -- there are a "bunch of different ways" to do a Dexter spinoff. "I hope that whatever we do will feel both original and in keeping with what people expect out of Dexter," he said, noting it was too soon to discuss if Showtime had been in talks with any of the original cast members. That's in-line with the executive's July comments, when Nevins said that the project may not "necessarily [be] a spinoff."

"There's no sense of whether it will happen and if it will happen, but I want to stay in business with Scott," he said at the time, encouraging the assembled reporters and press at Showtime's Television Critics Association stop to draw their own conclusions about a potential spinoff. 

While the future of Dexter remains unclear, Nevins is optimistic that horror drama Penny Dreadful will become the "next big genre show" at Showtime.

"It's very, very different, but it's a true horror show," he said. "There's definitely an audience for premium genre graphic novel [material] but with richness and depth. I think Penny Dreadful is a great answer to where the Dexter fan goes next. I think it's going to be that same kind of immersive universe that Dexter has been for seven seasons."

Dexter's series finale airs on Sunday on Showtime. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more coverage. Hit the comments below with your thoughts on a Dexter spinoff.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit