Showtime’s Dexter debuts its eighth and final season on June 30 (although network president David Nevins has floated the possibility of spinoffs). Teasers have promised that the serial killer show’s farewell season “isn’t going to be pretty.” Check out the just-released Season 8 trailer:
The company says this is the first quarter since 2006, when it split from Viacom, that it generated more than $4B in revenues. CBS ended up with net earnings of $443M, +22% vs the first three months of 2011, on revenues of $4.04B, +6.4%. The top line is just a hair more than the $4.02B that analysts expected. Diluted earnings at 69 cents beat forecasts for 68 cents. But if you take away the billboard business in Europe and Asia — which CBS plans to sell, and deems “discontinued” — then earnings hit 73 cents. Ad sales across the company’s properties were up 8.2% to $2.46B. At the Entertainment unit, the largest operation which includes the broadcast network, revenues hit $2.54B (+9.5%) with operating income of $440M (+18.9%). CBS says that the Super Bowl broadcast helped, as did a 62% increase in retransmission consent fees. The cable channels, including Showtime, saw revenues of $478M (+5.8%) with operating income of $227M (+11.3%) due in part to higher affiliate fees.
Yesterday’s official announcement that the upcoming eighth season of Dexter will be its last was two years in the making. When Showtime gave the veteran drama a two-year renewal in 2011, the network’s entertainment president David Nevins noted that that was likely going to be the end. “We wanted to leave open the possibility for a change if something creatively came up,” Nevins said in an interview today. “Once we ended last season and did some of the creative conversations between seasons, it became clear the time was right (to end the series).” There was no point over the past two years where extending Dexter beyond Season 8 was seriously considered. And the “basic end game scenario” sketched going into Season 7, has remained pretty much intact, Nevins said. While made before Season 8 went into production, the decision was kept quiet (save for CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves’ slip) to make the official announcement closer to the season premiere date.
While Dexter will end with the upcoming eighth season, that won’t necessarily be the end of the franchise, with a spinoff series a possibility. “There are all sorts of possibilities,” Nevins said, adding that “all kinds of ideas have been discussed but there is nothing happening right now.” There are no plans to use any of the episodes in the upcoming season of Dexter to set up a potential spinoff, and no Dexter cast members have deals for potential off-shoot series. “This season is about this season playing out the trajectory of the Dexter character,” Nevins said.
EXCLUSIVE: The Sopranos alum Michael Imperioli has joined the upcoming seventh season of Showtime‘s comedy series Californication for a major recurring role. He will portray Rick Rath, a successful old-school television producer who will play a key role in Hank’s (David Duchovny) latest venture. Production on Californication‘s 12-episode seventh season begins this month for a 2014 premiere. Imperioli, who co-stars in thriller The Call opposite Halle Berry, will next be seen in the Oldboy remake, reuniting with director Spike Lee. In addition to Sopranos, which earned him an Emmy, Imperioli’s major series stints include Law & Order, Life On Mars and Detroit 187, playing a detective on all of them.
Every studio with something to push books pricey space a year or more in advance at Comic-Con, which last year packed 130,000 fans into a downtown San Diego papered with promotional branding. But this year’s SXSW saw a sign of things to come as film and television brands took that strategy to Austin, targeting the festival’s estimated 64,000 registered attendees. Universal, Warner Bros Television, A&E Network, Showtime, and Syfy jumped ahead of the pack with marketing blitzes sure to multiply by next year as other entertainment brands set their sights on the plugged-in, social media-active demographic of influencers that pour into the annual multimedia festival. This year’s edition wraps this weekend.
Growth here has accelerated rapidly in the past three years in terms of attendance and prestige, thanks to distribution deals and buzz-building debuts in the film festival portion and the hot tech conference on the Interactive side. But thanks to its unique overlap of Film and Interactive components, SXSW this year attracted the attention of studio marketers with no films in the program. All of the major companies I spoke with made their first-ever trips to SXSW in 2013 and reps tell me they’d return next year if they had the right property to promote.
The re-up between Showtime and DreamWorks came after that studio went through a courtship with Netflix, we’re told. This is a strategically important deal for Showtime, particularly as Netflix continues to add an inventory of original series and has a movie inventory that makes it an alternative to the pay channel. The question is whether DreamWorks generates enough to satisfy Showtime’s appetite for films. The studio doesn’t crank them out like they once did; there are two films so far scheduled for 2013 and two more for 2014. Showtime might have to add another supplier to fill that shortfall. It also has a deal with The Weinstein Company that is up in 2015 and that becomes more important because of TWC’s higher output.
LOS ANGELES, CA – March 14, 2013 – Showtime Networks Inc. and The Walt Disney Studios have extended their exclusive output agreement under which DreamWorks Studios’ films theatrically released by Disney through 2018 will air across SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as its multiplex channels. Under the current agreement, which was set to run through 2015, Showtime Networks will continue to air high-profile DreamWorks features including The Help and War Horse across its premium channels. Lincoln will make its debut later this year. The announcement was made today by Gary Garfinkel, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisitions and Kent Sevener, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisitions and Business & Legal Affairs, Showtime Networks Inc., and Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
EXCLUSIVE: Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are venturing into cable with half-hour projects at Showtime and TBS. Both shows, which are in development, hail from Kohan and Mutchnick’s KoMut Entertainment and Warner Bros TV/Warner Horizon, where the duo is under and overall deal. At Showtime, Kohan and Mutchnick are in negotiations for an untitled single-camera comedy project — an Upstairs/Downstairs dark comedy that centers on a self-made first generation American billionaire, his family, and the staff that serves them. This marks Kohan and Mutchnick’s first project at Showtime, reuniting them with the cable network’s entertainment president David Nevins. The pair credit Nevis with helping them get Will & Grace on the air as a development executive at NBC where he got behind the duo’s script. At TBS, Kohan and Mutchnick have Clipsters, an ensemble multi-camera workplace comedy set in a hipster barbershop in the not-so-hip town of Worcester, MA (just outside of Boston). The project was developed for TBS after meeting Kohan and Mutchnick took with the network’s programming chief Michael Wright.