March 31, 2014 9:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Nurse Jackie' Gets Early Season 7 Renewal at Showtime
Showtime is keeping Nurse Jackie on duty.
The premium cable network, ahead of the Edie Falco comedy's April 13 return, has handed out an early season-seven renewal, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Clyde Phillips will return as showrunner after inking a new two-year overall deal with studio Lionsgate TV. Co-star Peter Facinelli, however, will not be back as a series regular.
The decision to renew the comedy ahead of its season-six premiere is a rare move for Showtime, which typically waits until the new run of episodes is underway to pull the trigger. No decision has been made on whether season seven will be Nurse Jackie's last.
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For his part, the in-demand Facinelli asked to be released from his contract during season six and has already booked the lead in NBC's family political drama pilot Odyssey. It's unclear what role his Dr. Cooper will have in season seven as the actor was able to film multiple projects during Nurse Jackie's off-season, including all of the Twilight movies. He may return in some capacity for multiple episodes.
"In the twilight of season six, Peter asked to be released from his contract to pursue new creative challenges. Nothing will eclipse the incredible contribution he made to the success of Nurse Jackie since the dawn of the show," said Phillips and EP Richie Jackson, with a nod to Facinelli's Twilight work.
Showtime renewed Nurse Jackie, a co-production with Lionsgate TV, for its sixth season in June. Season five averaged 3.13 million weekly viewers -- up 14 percent year-over-year. Phillips boarded the series last season, with season seven marking his third as showrunner after he replaced co-creators Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius. Production will resume later this season.
For Showtime, Nurse Jackie anchors a comedy lineup that also includes Episodes, Shameless and House of Lies -- all of which have been renewed for next year -- as well as Web Therapy. Comedy Californication will end its run with season seven this year. The future for comedy Happyish remains unclear following star Philip Seymour Hoffman's death.