Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” made headlines the other day following its sudden cancellation.
The award-winning Liev Schreiber-led series wrapped up its seventh season a few weeks ago with a cliffhanger, and fans were shocked by the abrupt ending of the series without a formal conclusion.
Turns out the cast and crew were similarly left stunned. Showrunner David Hollander has spoken with Vulture about that surprise cancellation, especially after the network’s executives “aggressively renewed it” season after season and it was hardly a series ‘on the bubble’:
“We’re still scratching our heads. We had no indicator that the show was ending. We were behaving creatively as though we were in mid-sentence. And so, there was no sense that this was going to be a completion. This was in no way a series finale… I think the easiest external impact was the merger [between CBS and Viacom]. Whatever new environment grew from the merger clearly had some impact on their choice.”
Asked what an eighth season would look like should it be revived, Hollander says:
“The pivot we had been making narratively was to move the backstory into the present and run it concurrently. So there were actually two stories to be told: What happened then, really, and how will that impact what happens now? The next step was what happened with Ray and Mickey in the ‘90s, which would have been the creation of Ray Donovan as a character and as a fixer. That’s why we went into such detail to find the right cast. That [flashback] story was a helpful pivot, at least for me creatively. I felt really good about it. And so, that story was going to run directly against the idea of Ray and Mickey now.”
The long-term fallout from the ViacomCBS merger has yet to fully reveal itself and it’s unclear at present if the company plans to become a truly aggressive major streaming player by merging its existing services (like CBS All Access, Showtime and Paramount’s library) and acquiring or licensing select other properties (eg. Starz) and combine them all under one umbrella.
All seven seasons of “Ray Donovan” are available to stream on the Showtime app.