With Dexter lying on the table, wrapped in saran wrap, and ready to shuffle off this mortal coil, Showtime is looking to aggressively promote their impending new drama, Ray Donovan, and they're looking to do more than hit you with a barrage of billboards and commercials to do it.
Following the path that they laid out back in late 2011 with the premiere episode of House of Lies, Showtime is making the first episode of Ray Donovan available via On Demand and YouTube more than two weeks prior to the June 30th premiere date.
What's the motivation for the move? Well, Showtime survives on subscribers and opening up their programming to new eyes can certainly serve as a boon for those prospects while also aiding in the pursuit of buzz and the kind of critical acclaim that the network has grown accustomed to thanks to Dexter, Shameless, and Homeland. That's why you see Free Preview Weekends from time to time, but releasing their program to On-Demand and YouTube allows the network a bit more control over that effort.
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Will it work? It all depends on how good Ray Donovan is and what Showtime's expectations are, but with a cast that includes Liev Schreiber, Elliot Gould, Frank Whaley (and his mustache), and Jon Voight, there's bound to be some interest.
If you're interested, you can watch the first episode (which is an edited version that is likely absent some of the more adult, Showtime-y content) above. If you're still on the fence, check out the official synopsis below and see if this one is up your alley.
Set in the sprawling mecca of the rich and famous, Ray Donovan does the dirty work for LA's top power players. The new one-hour series stars Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee Liev Schreiber in his first lead television role as the go-to guy who makes the problems of the city's celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls disappear. This powerful drama unfolds when his father, played by Oscar® winner Jon Voight, is unexpectedly released from prison, setting off a chain of events that shakes the Donovan family to its core.
Ray Donovan premieres on June 30th @10pm on Showtime.