Pasadena, Calif. -- Showtime's highest-rated series Dexter will return early for its eighth
season on June 30, Showtime president of entertainment president David Nevins announced
at the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday.
Dexter, which had
previously always aired in the fall, will give up its old timeslot to Homeland, now the network's second
most-watched series in a bid to "harness the strength of these two shows to
launch new series," Nevins said.
Dexter will air at
9 p.m. (putting it in direct competition with HBO's True Blood) followed by new drama Ray Donovan at 10 p.m. When Homeland
returns for its third season on Sept. 29, it will lead into new drama Masters of Sex.
Showtime announced more premiere dates including Inside Comedy, which returns its second
season with new episodes on Louis C.K., Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell
on Feb. 11 at 11 p.m.; the film The World
According to Dick Cheney debuts March 15; Nurse Jackie bows its fifth season on April 14 at 9 p.m., followed
by The Borgias' season three premiere
at 10 p.m.; and the four-part limited event series The Big C: hereafter debuts on April 29.
The end of Dexter?
Despite speculation that Dexter's
eighth season will be its last, Nevins again declined to confirm an end date
for the long-running drama.
"I'm not making any announcements today about when Dexter will end. I will make an
announcement before goes on air this season," he said. "The decision of when to
end Dexter is ultimately a creative
decision. I want to take care of it in a way that is respectful to the
And though the series is returning three months early,
production time will be the same, Nevins said. "They had a lot of advance
drew some criticism for the direction it took the story of its two central
characters in season two, Nevins defended its creative direction.
"I really liked season two. I read probably everything you
guys write. Some of the criticism seems fair," he said. "The fact that people
are that deeply engaged, there were things we got away with in season one that
we couldn't get away with in season two, I think is a good thing for the health
of the show."
While he said that Homeland
ended with a clear set-up for season three, he declined to specify whether
Damian Lewis, who plays Sgt. Nicolas Brody, will be back as a series regular.
Matt LeBlanc comedy Episodes
will be back for a third season, but not until early 2014 to accommodate the
schedules of creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik.
"It was not my choice, but I said early on we would produce
the show on their schedule," Nevins said, who added the next season will be
split between London and Los Angeles.
While pay-cable competitor HBO rakes in the hardware on
account of its TV movies and miniseries, Nevins said Showtime is concentrating
its resources on renewable assets.
"Series are our first priority," he said. "If we get those
established to our satisfaction, who knows where we'll go."