Former Dexter executive producer/showrunner Clyde Phillips has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal at Lionsgate TV. For Lionsgate, this marks a rare pact with a writer-producer not tied to one of the company’s flagship series, like Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who is under an overall there, as well as Weeds creator Jenji Kohan and her top lieutenant on the show Matthew Salsberg. But Phillips’ work on Showtime’s Dexter, which he joined after the pilot, as well as his background in both comedy and drama (Phillips also created the Fox dramedy Get Real and created the NBC comedy Suddenly Susan and the Fox half-hour Parker Lewis) were a major draw, Lionsgate TV president Kevin Beggs said. “These days comedy and drama are overlapping on the best cable series,” Beggs said. “And Phillips is the real deal; it’s hard to find people who are not only brilliant writers but can also manage a production.”
Phillips left Dexter following the record-breaking season four finale in December to spend more time with his family in Connecticut. During each of the four years at the helm of the Showtime series, Phillips spent nine months in Los Angeles, where the show is produced, and three with his wife and his daughter, who is now 13. “I was working so hard on Dexter to support a lifestyle that I wasn’t able to live,” Phillips said in a phone interview from his Connecticut home. “I needed to be back here.” But he didn’t take a long vacation, instead working on feature and TV ideas and meeting with TV studios interested in bringing him onboard. “Lionsgate was the place I wanted to go – they are an aggressive and dynamic company, and I love the stuff they produce: they’ve always been classy and gracious and courageous.”
Any series Phillips develops for Lionsgate would be shot on the East Coast, which will keep him close to home (but out of the house where he’s been based for the past six months). “I don’t think my family would mind me going back to work,” Phillips quipped. Such setup would also work for Lionsgate, which has two series, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and Fox’s Running Wilde, filming on the East Coast and has been looking to build a bigger talent roster there. As for leaving Dexter, CAA-repped Phillips admits it will be strange watching the show as a fan this fall. “I can feel it’s kind of my magnetic north, I feel it’s pulling at me. I wish them all well.”
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