'Dexter' hits all-time high but loses showrunner

dexter_s4-11_290.jpgThe fourth-season finale of "Dexter" drew the biggest audience the show has ever had, but it will go into its fifth year without executive producer Clyde Phillips.

Phillips, who's been with the Showtime series since its first year, is stepping down as showrunner so he can have more time with his family. Showtime has hired Chip Johannessen, currently a co-exec producer of "24," to take the reins of season 5 of "Dexter."

"I had complicated feelings about [leaving]," Phillips tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I lived with the people on the show for four years that were the high point of my career. But I was missing out on my family."

His responsibilities on the series kept Phillips in Los Angeles for nine months of the year, meaning he could only spend three months with his wife and daughter in Connecticut.

Johannessen, whose previous credits include "Millennium," "Moonlight" and "Dark Angel," will join fellow exec producers Sara Colleton and John Goldwyn on "Dexter." In a statement to the HR, Showtime chief Robert Greenblatt says he's "confident that [Johannessen] will bring intelligence, emotion and great storytelling to the next chapter of 'Dexter.'"

Sunday's season finale, which included several big revelations and one jaw-dropping murder, drew close to 2.6 million viewers -- an all-time high not just for "Dexter" but for any Showtime original series. The episode capped a season in which the show repeatedly set new viewership benchmarks.

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Photo credit: Showtime