October 22, 2012 4:28pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Showtime Chief David Nevins on 'Homeland's' Pickup and Brody's Future
After a ratings surge and six Emmy wins, Showtime has firmed up plans to bring back its smash drama Homeland back for a third season next year.
"There wasn't a lot of suspense in the decision," Showtime Networks president of entertainment David Nevins tells The Hollywood Reporter. "The evidence seems to be that more and more people are coming to the show."
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And those stats -- the Oct. 21 record high of 1.75 million, a 25 percent boost in cumulative viewership, 1.1 million new subscribers this year -- likely owe a debt of gratitude to executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon's apparent desire to buck narrative convention. Events of the most recent episode seem poised to alter the thriller's very premise.
"I think they've shown a willingness to make big story moves from the very beginning," says Nevins of Sunday's episode. "They've avoided the long tease that I think the audience has sort of come to expect. It's very hard to figure out Homeland's rhythm, and that makes it exciting to watch."
Whether that story will continue to include partially outed terrorist Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) remains unclear, but with Gordon developing several broadcast projects and writer Meredith Stiehm having The Bridge in contention at FX, changes seem inevitable for the six-person writers room.
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"I think the core of the writing staff will return," Nevins says. "Change is inevitable in television, so you can't fear it. And it would probably get boring if we kept it the same group year after year."
The narrative direction of the show is also something Nevins says wasn't specifically discussed when making the call on season three. That's been ongoing.
"Honestly, we had no specific creative conversation before I picked the show up," says Nevins. "There are daily, hourly creative conversations about the show, so we're all largely in sync. This pickup was not contingent on anything creative. This is just an opportune moment."
As for the 2013 return, the production schedule largely will mirror the current season. Star Claire Danes' pregnancy and upcoming maternity leave did not affect plans for a spring production start date.
Speaking to the Sunday night landscape, Nevins says he's thrilled with the symbiotic relationship between Homeland and its Dexter lead-in but said the strength of the pairing doesn't mean more Dexter is necessarily on the way following the previously ordered eighth season, which Nevins noted in August likely would be the series' last.
"The pairing has worked great, but Dexter is on its own creative trajectory," he said. "I think in a lot of ways it's been revitalized in really interesting ways this year. We're at a point now where both shows can stand together or alone. The Dexter decision will be made for a creative reason specific to Dexter."