Even as major broadcast networks like ABC and NBC are striking out with new fall shows, premium cable channel Showtime is demonstrating confidence in two of its most ambitious dramas: award-winning political thriller Homeland and freshman period series Masters of Sex. Both shows have been renewed today for additional seasons of 12 episodes.
Neither renewal is really all that shocking. Homeland has experienced a seemingly inexorable ratings climb from season to season since its premiere in 2011. Episodes from the show’s currently airing third season are averaging 6.5 million viewers. The espionage thriller has also received critical acclaim, despite recent grousing from fans over the show’s narrative direction, including the 2012 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and countless awards for leads Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.
Meanwhile, Masters of Sex premiered to terrific reviews and averages a respectable 5.4 million viewers, more than Homeland drew in its freshman year. Particular praise has been given to the lead performances of Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
In an official statement, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins said:
Homeland continues to prove its strength for Showtime and is one of television’s most exciting, provocative and widely discussed shows. It has grown its audience significantly in each of its three seasons.The critical and audience reaction to Masters of Sex since its great launch has been incredibly gratifying. It’s a privilege to get to work with such talented and creative people as Alex Gansa and Michelle Ashford, as well as their tremendous casts. They have each created truly original shows, with distinctive voices that are among the most admired series on television.”
I’m happy to see both shows receive pick-ups, though some part of me wonders whether Showtime will keep Homeland on the air for as long as it did Dexter, draining every drop of creativity from the writers before finally wrapping things up. Fan confusion over recent twists on Homeland make me wonder whether the show will have outstayed its welcome by this time next year. Masters of Sex, by comparison, has decades of real-life history behind its premise, so I could easily see the drama maintaining its quality for years to come.
What do you make of the renewals? Should Homeland conclude next season, or are you still engrossed by the drama? Let us know in the comments section!
The fourth season of Homeland and the second season of Masters of Sex will both premiere on Showtime in 2014.