Can ‘Penny Dreadful’ Be the Next ‘Dexter’ for Showtime?

Three Fools discuss the prospects for Showtime’s monster mashup as the network aims to replace its popular serial killer.

Jun 5, 2014 at 7:46AM

Showtime Penny Dreadful

Horror series Penny Dreadful premiered last month to decent ratings. Credit: Showtime.

With Dexter gone and Californication on its way out soon enough, CBS (NYSE:CBS) cable subsidiary Showtime needs a new franchise capable of putting up sustainable ratings. Can Penny Dreadful be that series?

Host Ellen Bowman puts this question to analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

Nathan says the show features all the high production value we've come to expect from premium cable original series. Penny Dreadful also has impressive bonafides with screenwriter John Logan writing and executive producing and Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes executive producing alongside established TV producer Pippa Harris.

Audiences have taken to the show so far. Last month's series premiere drew 1.44 million viewers, better than either Homeland or Masters of Sex. What's more, Penny Dreadful attracted Showtime's youngest audience for a series premiere since Dexter's bow in 2006, Entertainment Weekly reports. These are the sorts of wins that explain why CBS derives 24% of operating income from its cable networks.

Fans chiming in at Rotten Tomatoes -- a little more than 150 as of this writing -- rate the show 92% fresh. Nathan says strong performances from Eva Green and Timothy Dalton, in particular, make it a fun ride for a period horror epic.

While those are no doubt encouraging signs, Tim says that Penny Dreadful has much to live up to. Dexter drew 2.8 million viewers to its season 8 finale. Meanwhile, network president David Nevins has said that Dexter is as important to Showtime as Spider-Man is to Sony (NYSE:SNE). If true, Penny Dreadful is going to need to at least double its viewer base to fill the void.

Now it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. Have you seen Penny Dreadful? Does the show's ratings performance surprise you? Click the video to watch as Ellen puts Nathan and Tim on the spot, and then be sure to follow us on Twitter for more segments and regular geek news updates!

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Neither Ellen Bowman nor Nathan Alderman nor Tim Beyers owned shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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