In renewing the award-winning Nurse Jackie for a fifth season, it looks as though Showtime is keeping it all in the family by tasking former Dexter head honcho Clyde Phillips to serve as the series' new showrunner.
Phillips comes to Nurse Jackie following the announcement that co-creators Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem would be leaving the program after four seasons as showrunners. Apparently, the move works out well considering Phillips reportedly left his post on Dexter in part to spend more time with his family on the East Coast. Because Nurse Jackie is shot in New York, the location was a key component in luring the showrunner back to the network.
After experiencing a slip in the ratings during season 3, Showtime moved the series back to its original Sunday night time slot and decided to shake things up creatively. In season 4, Jackie (Edie Falco) finally seeks treatment for her addictions, and the ensuing result has delivered a much-needed change to many of the character dynamics which had become so familiar over the years – such as the relationships between Jackie and her now ex-husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa); former lover and occasional drug supplier, Eddie (Paul Schulze); and fellow nurse Zoey Barkow (Merritt Wever). The adjustment has heralded a decent uptick in the ratings, in addition to the critical praise the show has become accustomed to receiving.
Season 4 also brought in familiar character actor Bobby Cannavale (playing Dr. Mike Cruz) as a means to alter Jackie's workplace environment. No word on whether or not his character will be making a return in season 5 - but with Nurse Jackie ending on June 17th, fans won't have to wait long to catch Cannavale's next television turn. The actor will be taking part in the third season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire this fall, as a bootlegger named Gyp Rosetti who goes up against Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi).
Further casting decisions will have to wait for the moment, though, as Showtime is focused on the announcement of the show's renewal and incoming boss. Showtime president David Nevins had this to say regarding Phillips coming on board:
"Clyde brings a unique combination of skills in both comedy and drama, and he is a master at making entertaining and compelling television. We are so thrilled with the series’ performance this year, and we know that with the incomparable Edie Falco in front of the camera, the fifth season of Nurse Jackie will be even better.”
There is always some concern in terms of quality assurance when it comes to personnel changes of this magnitude. Hopefully, Phillips will help to usher in more of the growth that has seemingly reinvigorated the series both creatively and ratings-wise. Phillips was responsible for some of the more popular Dexter story lines - including the fan-favorite 'Trinity Killer saga,' so perhaps this announcement will be met with more enthusiasm than worry.
Season 5 of Nurse Jackie will begin production later this year and will air on Showtime in 2013.
Source: TV Line