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Dexter Slices Out CBS Slot

CBS, looking to fill in one of the gaps in its scheduled carved up by the writers strike-shortened slate, is turning to sister service Showtime’s serial killer series.

The broadcast network will begin airing the 12-episode first season of Dexter on Sunday Feb. 17 at 10 p.m. The program will be edited for language, nudity and length, with installments clipped by 10 minutes or more in some instances. Dexter episodes run or approach one-hour in length and CBS will slice them back to 48 or 50 minutes, still six or eight minutes longer than a typical broadcast drama.

CBS will sell the ads in the series, which is not paying a license fee to Showtime. A spokesman for the premium network said “the value to us is that the show will gain exposure before a much broader audience."

Black Rock reaches 113 million homes, versus about 14 million for Showtime.

Given that huge reach differential, there’s little doubt that Dexter’s debut on CBS will surpass its Showtime mark for the Dec. 16 second-season finale, which delivered 1.39 million viewers at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research data. That topped the 1.23 million people that tuned in the Nov. 18 Dexter installment to become the most-watched series installment in Showtime’s history.

Michael C. Hall earned a Golden Globes nomination for best actor for his portrayal of the eponymous serial killer. For a podcast interview with Hall click here.

It was unclear if other Showtime series would join CBS’s lineup. CBS CEO Les Moonves told investors at the UBS Securities Media & Communications conference last month that if the Writers Guild of America became protracted Showtime series could find their way onto the broadcast network.

The Showtime spokesman said at this time Dexter was the only series getting the call up.