Contract negotiations between Showtime and "Dexter" star Michael C. Hall have stalled out following a salary dispute, with the actor's representatives asking for a reported $24 million for two more seasons and the network only willing to pony up a measly $20 million.

Unfortunately for Showtime, the salary brouhaha follows a very highly-rated sixth-season opener for the popular series, in which Hall stars as a blood spatter expert who moonlights as a conscientious serial killer. The episode racked up an audience of 2.2 million viewers, up 24% from last year's debut and representing Showtime's best premiere for an original series in 14 years. Needless to say, this puts the network in a rather weakened position as far as future negotiations are concerned.

Hall's contract is up at the end of this season, on which production has nearly wrapped. According to Deadline, which broke the news, there may be an option on the table for just one more season as opposed to two, allowing Hall to branch out into other projects after the end of Season 7.