12 bloody Sundays on CBS
'Dexter' 10 p.m. shift starts Feb. 17CBS will repurpose the first season of Showtime's hit crime drama series "Dexter" over 12 consecutive Sundays beginning Feb. 17.
"Dexter's" move to CBS at 10 p.m. marks the first time a full season of a premium cable drama series transitions to broadcast TV.
With the networks running out of original scripted programming because of the writers strike, CBS first revealed its plans to air the edgy series last month (HR 12/5).
" 'Dexter' is a high-quality, compelling series that will be new and original programming for most CBS viewers," CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said. "It's also a great match with our existing lineup, affording us the opportunity to promote this critically decorated series in CBS' top-rated crime dramas."
Showtime Networks president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt also hopes the series starring Michael C. Hall as a likable forensics expert/serial killer will find new viewers in its run on CBS.
"I think it will be very compatible with their lineup as well as be a great opportunity to promote our brand on a platform that reaches every home in America," he said.
"Dexter" exec producer Daniel Cerone, however, said he has mixed feeling about "Dexter' on CBS.
"On one hand you want what you write to be seen by the greatest number of people, and as WGA members on strike, we will get residuals for these airings," he said. "On the other hand, if, by reprocessing the series the network is using it as strike programming, it may delay any resolution in the (labor dispute)."
Cerone said he and the other writing producers on the show who are WGA members won't be involved in the editing of "Dexter" for its run on CBS.
"There is a little bit of concern -- you spend so much time working on all minute details of the characters and the stories and a lot of it could get lost in translation," he said.
Greenblatt said the creative team behind the show shouldn't worry because he will oversee the editing, which will be done mostly for language.
"I am very protective of the show and will make sure the small changes are done very seamlessly," he said. "The essence of the show is absolutely there; we haven't compromised the character and his moral compass."
The Parents Television Council, the media watch group that objected to CBS' plans to repurpose "Dexter" in December, continues to be against the idea.
"Of course there will be cuts, but thematically the show is very disturbing -- making a serial killer a hero -- and no editing in the world will make this palatable for families with small children," senior director of programs Melissa Henson said.
CBS is not the only broadcaster looking to sister cable networks for programming during the strike. NBC also has announced plans to repurpose from corporate sibling USA Network shows including "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Monk" and "Psych."
As for "Dexter's" status on Showtime, the network has not made any announcement, but the show is scheduled to come back this year for a third season.