After months of contradictions regarding the future of Showtime's hit series, CBS Corp. president Les Moonves confirmed this week that Dexter will come to an end after season 8. But even with news coming from the top, is there still a chance that everyone's favorite Dark Passenger could return for season 9?
While speaking at the Access Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, CBS Corp.'s longtime boss referred to this year's June premiere of Dexter as the "last season." Although this news goes against what Showtime president David Nevin has been saying, it does fall in line with what producers of the show have been saying for over a year.
In December 2011, Nevin kicked-off the final season confusion, saying that the show's writers and producers were already working on a way to bring Dexter to an end in season 8. As we now know, Nevin's initial comments were a result of an agreement he made with producers to push the final season of Dexter to season 8 instead of season 7, which was the original plan. One month later, Nevin began trumpeting the possibility of a Dexter season 9. It wasn't until June 2012 that Dexter producers finally weighed in on what's really happening.
Five months after Nevin's comments, longtime Dexter executive producer Sara Colleton revealed the fact that, after agreeing with Showtime to delay the final season by a year, the show would absolutely end in season 8:
From the very beginning, when I first started developing the pilot, I always knew it would be a seven-year arc for this series. I feel easily that we can be an eight-year show, but I never want it to get old and stale. I want us to go out on a high and everybody on the show is determined to keep the level of it up to the very end. It’s always wise to know when it’s time to leave the stage before you’re asked to leave the stage.
After Colleton made her comments, what followed was a series of back-and-forth, contradictory statements from Nevin and Colleton about the future of Dexter, essentially creating a confusing non-battle between the people who make the show and Showtime, the company that pays for the show. Considering Dexter was one of Showtime's first to receive such high acclaim, it soon became obvious that the cable network didn't want to let go of their golden goose, even if producers (and fans) knew that it was time to exit.
So what about the future of Dexter? Is season 9 still a possibility?
Even though word came down from the head of CBS Corp., which owns Showtime, there's still a slim chance that television's trend of uncommon "sweetheart" deals (Charlie Sheen & FX; Robert Kirkman & FIC) could lead to Dexter returning for one more season. Although Dexter season 9 is highly unlikely, whatever events are likely to happen in the upcoming (now final) season will certainly draw fans - old and new - to the series, raising ratings. So with the possibility of being able to show the "aftermath" of whatever might happen in season 8, you can't completely count out Showtime from continuing a good thing. After all, Nevin spoke about Dexter season 9 just two months ago.
That being said, with Showtime set to roll out two new series, Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex, in the coming months (among other projects), it's likely that Nevin and others will begin to focus on their other (hopefully) hit series and allow Dexter to exit as planned. But if there's anything that seven seasons of Dexter has taught us, it's that you can never guess what the Dark Passenger will do – or be "forced" to do - next.
Dexter season 9 premieres Sunday, June 30 @9pm on Showtime