Showtime Boss Shares Dreadful News, Teases Dexter Offshoot, Reacts to Borgias Fan Campaign

Penny Dreadful Casting Hartnett GreenSimply Dreadful news was dispersed by Showtime entertainment president David Nevins when he appeared Tuesday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

Revealing the first castings for Penny Dreadful — a “totally fascinating” eight-episode “literary horror” series being penned by film vet John Logan and helmed in part by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) — he said that Josh Hartnett (The Faculty) will play an American “fake cowboy” who enchants the ladies of Victorian era London, while Eva Green (Camelot) has been cast as Vanessa, a character Nevins described as “the fulcrum” of the super-secretive series before catching himself and withholding further details.

Penny Dreadful, which will also feature Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the Dracula novel, starts production in October to debut as soon as spring 2014. Nevins lauded the project as “smart and psychological, but we’re not going to be gentle with the horror. I think it’s going to scare the s–t out of people.”

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In other Showtime casting news, Nevin shared that Kathryn Hahn (Parks and Recreation) has landed the female lead in Trending Down, a new comedy starring Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman as a man facing obsolescence after his ad agency is taken over, while Ruth Wilson (Luther) will star opposite Dominic West in The Affair, a drama about how infidelity impacts two marriages.

Also discussed during Nevins’ Q&A session at TCA:

EPISODES SCHEDULED | Matt LeBlanc’s long-MIA comedy will return with new episodes on Jan. 12, joined by House of Lies and Shameless on Sunday nights. Californication Season 7 in turn will be moved to the spring, where it will be paired with Nurse Jackie.

DEX APPEAL | Though he has only seen the script, Nevins said, “[Dexter] ends with great satisfaction….. I think it’s quite brilliantly built.” As such, the pay cabler inked “a rare overall deal” that will keep showrunner Scott Buck in the Showtime family. As for what that means for any rumored spin-off, the exec winked: “Draw your own conclusions.”

RELATED | Dexter @ Comic-Con: Fan Favorites Past and Present Return for a Bloody-Awesome Farewell

YEA, DONOVAN! | Nevin said that the experiment to bring back Dexter during the summer months, facing fewer male-skewing sports events and to help launch the new drama Ray Donovan, “worked phenomenally well,” with both shows reaping boffo ratings.

THE PLANE TRUTH ABOUT THE BORGIAS | Trying to clear the air on The Borgias‘ cancellation — news which promoted an organized fan effort to fly a “Save the Borgias” banner over the TCA lunch session — Nevins said, “We looked hard at doing a two-hour finale” but the economics “just didn’t make sense. I think it came to a good stopping place in Season 3.” (As for the actual aforementioned fly-by, he said, “I feel bad, the money that’s being spent [by fans].”)

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  1. alistaircrane says:

    Looking forward to Episodes!

  2. Jess says:


  3. Emily says:

    A good stopping place? The Borgias finale was absolutely fantastic as a *season* finale. But as a series finale, it was terrible.

  4. Katie T says:

    Have to say I love the sound of Penny Dreadful on it’s own,but the casting of Josh Hartnett makes it a thousand times better!

  5. Frank says:

    A good stopping point? If leaving a show with no discernible conclusion for any of its characters I guess you’d be right.

  6. MDS says:

    Ruth Wilson and Dominic West in the same show? That’s just awesome! Really excited to see this one …

  7. Richard says:

    Exited for all of these shows, showtimes future is bright!

  8. Olivia says:

    Ok, you had me at “Victorian”, then you sealed the deal with “Penny Dreadful, which will also feature Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the Dracula novel”. I. CAN’T. WAIT. *_*

  9. Shaun says:

    Borgias was totally snowed!!Was a horrible series finale.

  10. Cherry says:

    Damn, Eva Green would’ve made an amazing Mina Murray.

  11. Mia says:

    Evag Green est de retour sur petit écran ^^ c’est génial !

  12. @IhateandIlove says:

    Let me bring an economic term to his attention. Marginal utility when comparing consumer dollars spent. Funding a campaign or supporting this network. I wonder which one I would choose as a “Borgia” supporter.

  13. Fiore Grey says:

    One more season or half season of the Borgias would have concluded the story and everyone would have walked away happy. This fan protest is about the premature cancellation of The Borgias and also about the lack of respect Showtime has for its viewers.

    David Nevins did not worry about the money we paid to Showtime for 3 years only to get no real end to a series we loved. Am I to believe he really feels bad about the money were are spending on the fan campaign? Pls. Any money I spend that does not go to Showtime is money better spent.

    By-the-by David Nevins, your chuckling and belittling comments as reported by the Denver Post’s Joan Ostrow, who was at your luncheon today, was a real class act.

    • hater4life says:

      What would you have done if you were David Nevins? Would you have renewed a show that was not profitable?

    • Superhero says:

      I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but this is a business. If a show isn’t going to ultimately be profitable for the network in some way, they’re going to cancel it. That’s not just Showtime, that’s any network on television. Stop whining.

      • The ratings were consistent.

        It isn’t the fault of fans that they did not advertise properly. It isn’t fans fault that Showtime can’t work out their profists.

        We were told we would have four seasons.

        Actors offered to work for less and the writer offered to do a short film in place of an entire season.

        It was bang out of order, and now the stream of disdain we get from Nevins is disgraceful.

      • oh, and btw, people have a right to whine. Why? Because it’s our money! We are paying for a service.

        • Superhero says:

          Paying for their service doesn’t mean that they are beholden to your demands. You’re not entitled to anything. If you’re not satisfied with what they’re providing you, then stop paying for it. It’s that simple.

          • @IhateandIlove says:

            Your right, I no longer pay for a service that I am not satisfied with. My marginal utility increased when I took that money and a bit more considering how high my utility increased and spent it for the #savetheborgias campaign. Boycotting Showtime products and buying more HBO and Netflix products is now on my increased marginal utility list as well.

  14. Debra says:

    I for one will NEVER watch another series aired on Showtime!!! The cancellation of the Borgias prior to the season 4 that was to pull together all of the story lines, never happened. Mr. Nevins either finds his customers to be brainless or he never watched the Borgias himself, as he assumes that we fell for a season finale as the series finale! What a moron!

  15. John Harnes says:

    With Dexter in its last season and the wonderful Borgias kicked to the side of the road – I have no reason to keep Showtime. But that is just economics.

    I love the idea for Penny Dreadful, but do you really want to be paying a monthly fee to watch and get hooked on another Showtime series only to have it just end again in midsteam?

    I’d love to know how many other subscribers are just waiting for the end of Dexter to kick Showtime to the side of the road. I will be in that number…

  16. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Regarding his comment on The Borgias: “I think it came to a good stopping place in Season 3.”
    I disagree.

    • says:

      Right?! It was just gearing up and getting into some real heavy stuff…utterly disappointing to not have a final season, worse still that there was no wrap up movie either. What a shame

  17. I think they could easily pull off a Miami Metro spinoff starring Batista, Quinn and Masuka.

  18. Steven says:

    I say if it has a solid fan base that are really asking for a conclusion for the series and characters, but the series isn’t profitable, the network, (especially a subscription network), should do a two to three hour series finale special. They can say it’s by popular demand and make themselves look good by doing it specifically for the fans. Even if it is still not profitable, it may prevent a backlash of all of those fans cancelling their subscriptions and never checking out the new shows coming on. Which is worse: losing money or possibly breaking even to give your subscribers something that is really important to them and keeping them as subscribers, or losing the subscription of each lndividual that watched the show + each of those pairs of eyeballs never seeing the new stuff? I’ve never watched “The Borgias”, but I do watch other Showtime shows, (Carnivale on HBO was the same situation), but this goes for any show on any network. It Sucks for people to make the time investment only to be cut off and left unsatisfied.

    • @IhateandIlove says:

      Outstanding break-even analysis! I do sincerely hope that the series you watch gets the conclusions that you want. Thanks for the comment!

    • Brenda K says:

      Show time and any other network you can name is about the bottom line. (Remember Serenity and the Doll House anyone? ) Any series that does not get enough viewers to fund the ads will be cancelled. And no, it does not really matter if the fans are unhappy. That does not really factor into the equation. Profit and loss is the bottom line. Other wise they don’t have enough money to keep providing programming. I try not to get too enmeshed in any series for this reason.

  19. Meh says:

    That guy is an a-hole. Sorry, but that’s all that comes to mind here. *shrug*

  20. Alison Dodd says:

    Yay, more House of Lies. That cast has amazing chemistry and never fails to make me laugh

  21. sarah says:

    I love Dexter but I am not sure about a spinoff!

  22. IAmBorgia says:

    This article means a lot to supporters/members of the Save The Borgias campaign!!! All fans are asking is for David Nevins to reconsider cancelling The Borgias and produce Season 4 (as promised) OR the 2-hour finale movie which already has a written script! Persons interested in joining in this effort can visit,, to get in on the action!……..ONWARD!

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  24. Karin says:

    Listen, all I watch are epic series. Very upset for the cancellation of “The Borgias” one of my favorites. This is a mistake! If the Borgias rating fell, it was because new episodes we’re not watched on the night they aired. I always had 1 or 2 new episodes available earlier than the date the show aired. Dexter is gonna end SHOtime, top 3 favorite with Game of Thrones #1, Dexter#2, and The Borgias #3. Please reconsider, An avid fan of the Borgias, KK

  25. Nancy Loughran says:

    Totally stunned regarding the abrupt cancellation of one of my favorites, Borgias. A class act, wonderful actors beautifully produced. Please reconsider. It is a shame that other lack luster shows continue and this gem is abandoned. thanks to all the talent that made this show one of my all time favorites.

  26. the borgia’s had a proper ending???????? omg did he even watch wat a prat it needs to be finished properly like the tudors stop cancelling and rushing shows like this and plying money into terrible shows with too big for their boots stars that take too much money and therefore much needed revenue for amazing shows like the borgia’s if ur gna end it end it properly as in THE END!!!!! idiot!!!!!

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