Minutes after Showtime announced a new two-year deal with Dexter star Michael C. Hall and a two-year pickup for the show, I spoke with Showtime entertainment president David Nevins about the deal and the future of Dexter, the network’s highest-rated series. Last month, I reported about a breakdown in the negotiations between Hall and Showtime over a $4 million gap between the $24 million Hall’s reps were reportedly seeking and the $20 million Showtime was offering for a new 2-year contract. (Hall’s existing one is up at the end of the current Season 6.) Today, Nevins declined to discuss financials but stressed that they didn’t drive the deal-making. “It’s been a pretty simple negotiation, and Michael C. Hall has been incredibly gentlemanly throughout the whole process,” Nevins said. “The biggest question was: what is the trajectory of the show creatively? And after speaking with (executive producers) John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton and Scott Buck, it became pretty clear that there was a very clear 3-year trajectory. Once we established that, this became a very simple negotiation, which went down pretty quickly.” The 3-year trajectory includes the current sixth season and the upcoming Seasons 7 and 8. Does it mean that Dexter will end after eight seasons? “I’m not going to say with absolute certainty that this is the end, but that is the likely scenario, that the series is moving towards a definite end,” Nevins said.

Also key in the negotiation was working out the show’s filming schedule to accommodate Hall and Showtime. Given the success the pairing of Dexter and rookie Homeland has had, the network is looking to keep the 2 series on compatible schedules so they can continue to air together, which has been accomplished. “The pairing of Dexter and Homeland has made for a vety powerful Sunday, and our plan is to likely keep them together,” Nevins said. “Clearly those shows cement our schedule on Sunday for the next several years.” Both Dexter and Homeland have been growing in the ratings for the past five consecutive weeks. “It’s remarkable how Dexter continues to be on a steady upward trajectory in its sixth season,” Nevins said.