It's been a few days now since Showtime canceled Ray Donovan after seven seasons, and the series' showrunner has confirmed that he did not expect to be left high and dry by the network.
“We had no indicator that the show was ending,” executive producer David Hollander revealed in an interview with Vulture.
“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.”
What's more, Hollander dished that the series was never "even remotely" in danger of not getting renewed, saying:
“We were used to being a show that was not cancelled. We never thought we would be cancelled.”
The show's demise was a big surprise, especially when you consider that Ray Donovan Season 7 was right on par with Ray Donovan Season 6 in the ratings department.
Given that the show was well-received for most of its run and still being the second most-watched show on Showtime overall, it was poised to get a wrap-up of sorts.
“After seven incredible seasons, Ray Donovan has concluded its run on Showtime,” Showtime said in a earlier this week.
“We are proud that the series ended amid such strong viewership and on such a powerful note. Our deepest thanks go to Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, showrunner David Hollander and the entire cast and crew, past and present, for their dedicated work.”
As for how the cast reacted to the controversial decision, Hollander explained that the reaction “run the gamut from people being sad and grateful to anger and confusion."
An eighth and final season would have allowed the series to delve deeper into the backstory of Ray's family to craft a satisfying conclusion.
“So there were actually two stories to be told: What happened then, really, and how will that impact what happens now?" he said.
"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.”
The cancellation comes just weeks after it was announced that Shameless had been renewed for an eleventh and final season, to air this summer.
We know that the creative forces behind that show wanted to continue for the years to come, but Showtime made the decision to end it.
This could tease that the premium cabler is changing its focus to nurture new series instead of paying for older and likely more expensive established shows.
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What an amazing journey it’s been. I’ve been reading your comments, and the outpouring of love and support for our cast and crew has been truly overwhelming. I know the big question on everyone’s mine is whether there will be a season 8. Truth is it’s in the networks hands. So if you want more, reach out to them at @showtime, @raydonovan, and @CBS and let them know how you feel. Either way it’s been an amazing ride and we have all of you to thank for it. xo Liev
For now, Ray Donovan's conclusion is filled with threads left dangling, and there's no word on whether it could return down the line in some capacity.
What are your thoughts on the way the series was treated?
Hit the comments.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.