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Showtime renews both 'Masters of Sex' and 'Ray Donovan' for a third season

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HBO may be the top dog in the pay cable business of original programming, but Showtime is most definitely gaining some ground. Just in time for the Emmys, Showtime has announced that its two hit dramas, "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex," have gotten the nod for a third season order.

The hit shows have developed a cult following as their audience has grown over the first two seasons of the programs. The order of 12 episodes each for the third season will begin production early next year.

"Both Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex are quintessentially Showtime: bold, provocative, premium television with production values at the top of the food chain," said Showtime Networks president David Nevins. "These acclaimed shows are filled with complex and interesting characters and settings that will no doubt give audiences compelling television to invest in for seasons to come."

The Showtime series have both been a hit with fans and critics alike. The programs have been draped with positive buzz leading up to the Emmys on August 25. "Masters of Sex" scored five Emmy nominations, including a best actress nod for lead Lizzy Caplan. The program already took home a best guest actress in a drama with Allison Janney winning on Saturday at the Creative Arts ceremony. "Ray Donovan" co-star Jon Voight is up for a supporting actor for his work as wild dad Mickey Donovan.

Both shows were smartly put together with established series as their lead-ins, which has lead to stellar ratings. "Ray Donovan" was aired next to "Dexter," with "Masters of Sex" flanking "Homeland." The ratings have held quite strong, despite launching the programs on a new night. "Masters of Sex" is currently averaging 4 million weekly viewers after all live, DVR and on-demand screenings are taken into account. The Liev Schreiber "Ray Donovan" is also doing well, taking in a solid 5 million viewers weekly and gaining momentum with their target demographic.

Showtime has already confirmed "Penny Dreadful," "Shameless," "Episodes," and "House of Lies" are confirmed to return for 2015. With a stellar list of quality programming, Showtime is becoming a major player amongst original programming on pay cable. In the off-season of "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex," new viewers will be able to catch up on the first two seasons via Showtime on demand.

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