Showtime Networks CEO David Nevins and programming president Gary Levine on Thursday revisited the abrupt ending of the buzzy horror drama Penny Dreadful, whose Season 3 finale was announced as a series finale moments after it aired.
“We could have announced it [was the final season] before the final season, and we decided not to,” Nevins admitted. As he noted, series creator John Logan “didn’t want to cast a pall” on the show’s final run, nor tip his hand that Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives would die.
“In [John’s] mind it was always three [seasons] and out,” Nevins added. “From early on, we were trying to keep it open for possibility of more, but it became clear that trying to continue the show past the life of Vanessa Ives would be a lesserment. And John didn’t really want to continue beyond that character.”
“The death of Vanessa Ives was plotted,” Levine said, “and in John’s mind he slowly came around to the idea… that for him there wasn’t [a show beyond that].” With neither star Green nor Logan sticking around, “We thought the series would lose its authenticity.”
Topics also covered during the Showtime exec’s TCA panel:
* The summertime comedy launch Roadies is “going according to vision,” Nevins said, but: “We’re still evaluating what it’s future is, one way or the other.” The series’ fate will be determined “probably at the end of its (freshman) run.”
* Purity, a limited series based on Jonathan Franzen’s bestseller of the same name and starring Daniel Craig, is currently in pre-production on two seasons totaling 20 episodes.
* Showtime has ordered a comedy pilot based on Frankie Shaw’s Sundance Film Festival Jury Award-winning short film SMILF. Shaw will star, write, produce and direct the semi-autobiographical project.
* Regarding Homeland‘s freshly confirmed two-season renewal, there was no indication that producers presented ahead of time a firm plan for Seasons 7 and 8. “This show is broken year by year,” Nevins said. Showrunner Alex Gansa basically told the network, “I’m comfortable doing two more seasons after [Season 6],” which premieres Sunday, Jan. 15.