Is Ray Donovan Season 8 Canceled?

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in RAY DONOVAN, "You'll Never Walk Alone". Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.

Created by Ann Biderman (‘Southland’), Ray Donovan’ follows the personal and professional life of the titular protagonist, a mediator for a law firm who basically gets paid to “fix” problems for celebrities and wealthy clients by whatever means necessary, which ranges from arranging bribes and payoffs to doling out threats and participating in other such illegal activities. Upon its premiere in 2013, the show broke viewership records, becoming the biggest premiere of all time on Showtime.

The critically-acclaimed crime drama has numerous awards and nominations under its belt, including a Golden Globe win. The show has spawned seven seasons so far with a remarkably consistent viewership. With the season 7 finale ending on a major cliffhanger, fans are naturally eager to head into ‘Ray Donovan’ season 8. Will it ever happen though? Let’s find out!

Ray Donovan Season 8 Release Date: Renewed or Canceled?

‘Ray Donovan’ season 7 premiered on November 17, 2019, on Showtime, and concluded with its explosive tenth episode on January 19, 2020. As for fans awaiting the upcoming season, we hate to be the bearer of bad news that the network canceled the series on February 4, 2020. This decision comes as a shock, especially considering how well it had been performing after a whopping seven years of its release.

If you think you are the only one who’s staggered by the news, here’s something you should know. The creative team of ‘Ray Donovan’ was just as blindsided by the cancelation as the fans. In an interview with Vulture, showrunner David Hollander opened up about his feelings on the news. Following the sixth season, he and the team had come back with a two-season arc in mind, so as might be expected, they were baffled when they heard about the cancelation.

“We were so used to it being the other way, where we were burned out by a show that was very hard to make and the network would pull us and cajole us and push us,” he said. “We were used to being a show that was not canceled. We never thought we would be canceled.” While he hinted that the ‘Ray Donovan’ writing team, cast, and crew members all seemed to think the show might soon be singing its swan song, it wasn’t expected to turn out this way.

They had envisioned it in the form of a season 8 and not the cliffhanger they left the viewers on. “We’re still scratching our heads.” He continued, “We had no indicator that the show was ending. 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.” Then why did Showtime abruptly pulled the plug?

While ‘Ray Donovan’ faced considerably small viewership declines despite being in its seventh season, the show’s performance, however, may not have measured up to the standards of the network’s new ownership following a merger between Viacom and CBS. Hollander seems to have an inkling that this may have played a significant role in the show’s sudden cancelation.

He explained, “The corporate elements of show business are complicated and often mired in things that will never be spoken out loud. I think the easiest external impact was the merger [between CBS and Viacom]. Whatever new environment grew from the merger clearly had some impact on their choice.”
Hollander also hinted that the show’s production cost might have been a catalyst as well. As shows pass a certain time period, actors, in particular, get more expensive.

Add that to the fact that following season 5, the production budget suddenly escalated. “This is a big show. To be fair to our bosses, Ray Donovan, for the Showtime model, was a very expensive show. We were going into our eighth season with salaries and all the step-ups for union. And the move to New York was extraordinarily expensive, so there’s that,” Hollander said.

So there you have it. As of yet, ‘Ray Donovan’ season 8 stands canceled. But given the popularity of the show, fans might get a special or a reboot somewhere down the line to tell the story it never got around to. And if ‘Ray Donovan’s lead actor Liev Schreiber’s Instagram post is any indication, something might already be brewing up as we speak. Here’s hoping!

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