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UPDATE: Two Things Certain for ‘Dexter’ on CBS: Death and Ad Breaks

February 20, 2008 1:48 PM

Showtime’s “Dexter” made its broadcast debut in a cleaned-up form Sunday on CBS. But how do you make a show about a vengeful serial killer network TV-ready? Read our observations of the first two CBS episodes here.

After initially being excited about making the jump from pay cable to broadcast, Sara Colleton, executive producer of “Dexter,” had a lingering thought.

“My second thought was, ‘Oh dear, are we going to slash and burn the show?’” she said.

Out of everything on “Dexter,” there were three main things to consider: violence, profanity and ad breaks.

Violence, she said, wasn’t the trickiest issue.

“It’s much less violent than you think,” she said. “You realize the most audacious thing about ‘Dexter’ is the idea.”

And the profanity involved some substitutions in the dialogue. Ms. Colleton knows the audience is smart enough to figure out what is being said behind the “dangs” and “foolings,” but Standards & Practices leaves her hands tied.

However, the ad breaks were the biggest thing to be considered. Most broadcast shows button scenes in order to accommodate ads.

“You can anticipate when to run to the loo because you know what’s coming up,” Ms. Colleton said.

“Dexter” wasn’t filmed with commercials in mind, making it tricky to insert ads without the breaks seeming arbitrary.

“What we have found is natural, rhythmic story breaks to go to a commercial,” she said.

And thankfully, Ms. Colleton confirmed that the Emmy Award-winning opening titles, while cut from the second episode, will reappear for the third.

She said the reason the titles got the ax from the second episode (the opening title didn’t appear in the first episode, even on Showtime) was in order to give viewers more time to get introduced to the characters.

“Dexter” on Showtime is readying its third season, where it’s scheduled to begin airing in early October.

Andrew Krukowski

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