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'Dexter' is returning this summer

Randy Tepper/Showtime

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan.

PASADENA, Calif. -- TV's favorite serial killer is coming back sooner than expected. David Nevins, Showtime's president of entertainment, announced Saturday to reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that "Dexter" would be premiering its eighth season on June 30 instead of its usual fall start.

"For the first time ever, we will move ‘Dexter’ to a new premiere spot in June," Nevins said. " ‘Dexter’ has already proven its value as a launch pad for 'Homeland.' ... Our plan is to harness the strength of these two shows to launch the next generation of great dramas on Showtime."

"Dexter," which will air at 9 p.m., will be the lead in to new drama "Ray Donovan" starring Liev Schrieber.

Though "Dexter" will be premiering several months earlier than usual, Nevins said that the show is prepared for a summer return.

"Dexter is coming back early, but they had a lot of advance warning," he said. "They’ve known where they were going. No less production time, a little less vacation time between seasons." 

Though producers and writers may know where the story's headed, Nevins wouldn't say whether this eighth season would be the show's last. "There’s a clear endgame in place. I can’t talk about it just yet," he said. "The decision of when to end 'Dexter' is ultimately a creative decision." He added that an announcement about the show's fate would be made before it returns. 

But "Dexter" will have some tough competition in its new time slot. HBO's "True Blood" also airs at 9 p.m. Sundays during the summer. (The network hasn't announced a premiere date yet for the vampire saga, but it generally kicks off in June) Nevins isn't worried.

"Sixty-five percent of the people who watch ‘Dexter’ are watching after that Sunday 9 o’clock, even when it was on in the fall," he said, and also pointed out that airing opposite Sunday Night Football in the fall was even tougher. "I think ('Dexter' and 'True Blood') do probably have overlapping audiences, and people will find them both. We’ve been through that before, the same way that people watch 'Homeland' and 'Boardwalk Empire.' They figure out how to do it. It reruns, and there’s DVR,  there’s on demand .... people don’t have to watch it in its time period."

What do you think about "Dexter's" earlier return? Will you be watching "Dexter" or "True Blood" at 9 p.m. Sundays? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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