Six-time Emmy nominee Scott Buck had writing and producing stints on HBO’s Six Feet Under and Rome before joining the Showtime serial-killer-with-a-heart-of-gold drama Dexter for its second season in 2007. He’s worked his way up from co-executive producer to showrunner (he was named last December) in advance of shooting the show’s 6th season that premieres on October 2nd. Dexter landed its 4th consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nomination this time around – the first Showtime series to achieve that particular feat. Buck spoke with Deadline TV Contributor Ray Richmond:
DEADLINE: So Dexter had its highest ratings ever during Season Five. You averaged more than 5 million viewers a week between regular TV and on-demand. And yet a change is made for Season Six and you’re elevated to showrunner. Why?
SCOTT BUCK: Yes, we’d just came off a great year. But the show that I was coming in to run had undergone a lot of changes by virtue of where the storyline was alone. I guess someone believed that it was time for a change and I’d earned the promotion. Though as I’ve never run a show before, it’s not a job I take lightly. I’m swimming as fast as I can to cut down on the learning curve.
DEADLINE: Usually these transitions aren’t smooth.
BUCK: That’s probably true. I feel fortunate in that regard. It was sort of a combination of my being drafted and volunteering. I’ve already found how different it is running a show from being an exec producer. In my previous job, the responsibility was wholly writing. With this, I’m supervising the writing and everything else. So it’s a lot more responsibility…and a little more money. Let me just say that it wasn’t a position that I eagerly pursued. I was pretty happy doing what I did before. Running a show is an entirely different animal. It’s very much a learning process, and I’m doing the best I can. Fortunately, I’m working with a lot of very smart, very skilled people.
DEADLINE: So now Dexter has made Showtime Emmy history.
BUCK: I was here as a writer and executive producer, and these Emmy nominations aren’t something that anyone around here takes for granted. The day the nominations come out is always a big cause for celebration and going out for drinks.
DEADLINE: Though it would probably be even cooler if you guys finally won in the drama category.
BUCK: Of course. But getting nominated every year isn’t too shabby, either.
DEADLINE: How did you come to Dexter in its 2nd season?
BUCK: I was working on Rome at the time when we’d all heard the idea that Showtime would be doing a show where a serial killer was the lead. It seemed like a ridiculous idea that no one should take seriously at all. I mean, it just sounded so hokey. But when I heard Michael C. Hall would be starring, it got my attention, because I trusted his judgment. It’s interesting the way the concept has morphed. The Dexter character has evolved so much season after season. He’s surprisingly different now than he was in the beginning. We had the writers all re-watch Season One before we got started this year of Season Six. We wanted to get back to some of that fun they had during the first season. It startled us how much Dexter himself had changed from those first few episodes.
DEADLINE: What can we expect for Season Six?
BUCK: We skipped ahead a year this season and cleaned the slate, and Dexter is finally done grieving the loss of his wife from the end of Season 4. He’s largely dealt with that now in Season 6. He’s put it in the past, and we’ll now be seeing a stronger Dexter than ever before. And hopefully, we won’t be killing off any major character this season. But top to bottom, from our cast to our crew, we all feel especially excited and energized and motivated this year.
DEADLINE: You must get asked all the time when Dexter is finally going to wrap as a series.
BUCK: To be perfectly honest, it hasn’t come up yet for discussion. I mean, we’re all confident that it will come up. But we’re not working toward the end just yet. How you’ll wrap is the kind of thing you want to know at least a season in advance, and we haven’t discussed it yet at all, so that should tell you something. Everyone will want to check in and they’ll all do it with a slightly different idea of what should be done. And we’ll definitely hear everyone’s thoughts.
DEADLINE: So you’re running a democracy on Dexter rather than a dictatorship?
BUCK: I guess I am.