EXCLUSIVE: Former Dexter executive producer/showrunner Clyde Phillips is returning to Showtime as showrunner of the network’s half-hour series Nurse Jackie. With him on board, the dark comedy starring Edie Falco has been renewed for a fifth season. On Nurse Jackie, Phillips succeeds co-creators Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius, who recently left after serving as co-showrunners for the first four seasons. Coincidentally, what was a major reason for Los Angeles-based Wallem and Brixius to depart Nurse Jackie — the fact that it films in New York — was key to getting Phillips on board. Like Wallem and Brixius, Phillips too left Dexter after four years of a cross-country commute between Connecticut, where he lives with his family, and Los Angeles, where the Showtime drama is shot. To be close to his family, he made working on East Coast-based shows a condition in his 2010 overall deal with Lionsgate TV, which co-produces Nurse Jackie with Showtime. Phillips will serve as an executive producer on Nurse Jackie alongside Falco, Richie Jackson and Caryn Mandabach. Production on Season 5 will begin in late 2012.
Nurse Jackie‘s renewal comes about two weeks before the series airs its fourth-season finale June 17. The comedy, which moved to Sundays this season after a run on Mondays last year, drew more than 1.1 million cumed viewers for the night of its fourth-season premiere, up 30% from Season 3’s premiere night. Overall, the series averages 2.77 million total weekly viewers across various platforms. “Clyde brings a unique combination of skills in both comedy and drama, and he is a master at making entertaining and compelling television,” Showtime’s president of entertainment David Nevins said. “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.”
The Nurse Jackie gig marks CAA-repped Phillips’ return to the half-hour comedy genre where he created two series: Suddenly Susan, starring Brooke Shields and Kathy Griffin, and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. He also created the comedic drama Get Real, which starred Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. A bestselling mystery novelist as well, Phillips’ fourth book, Unthinkable, will be published in January 2013 by Amazon. Nurse Jackie stars Falco as Jackie Peyton, a strong-willed and brilliant — but very flawed — emergency room nurse. The series, co-starring Eve Best, Merritt Wever, Paul Schulze, Dominic Fumusa, Anna Deavere Smith and Peter Facinelli, earned Falco an Emmy in 2010.