Bryan Zuriff, executive producer for Showtime’s hit series Ray Donovan, is taking a leave of absence.
Zuriff, who pled guilty to running an illegal gambling operation on Friday, is taking a voluntary leave of absence from the Showtime series, reports Deadline. He is facing up to five years in prison and has agreed to forfeit $500,000 as part of his plea deal. Insiders indicate that by pleading first from the 34 others charged in the operation, Zuriff is likely to get a more lenient sentence.
“I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of the extraordinary Ray Donovan family,” Zuriff said in a statement. “Out of respect for my colleagues at the network and everyone involved with the show I’m voluntarily taking a leave of absence so that the resolution of my personal legal matters won’t distract from the audience’s great response to the program. I appreciate all the support I’ve received and look forward to everyone’s continued success.”
“We respect and appreciate Bryan Zuriff’s decision,” said Showtime in a statement. Zuriff has played a key role in the Ray Donovan series, which features stories that hold resemblance to the thing Zuriff was indicted for. He is credited with bringing the project to producer Mark Gordon as well as championing it.
Ray Donovan was just renewed for a second season, in which Zuriff was expected to return, following a very strong debut.