Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins has met with the press before, but he’s only beginning to put his executive stamp on the network. I’m not sure if anything exciting will happen at his conference, but just in case it does, I’ll be live-blogging.
9:20 a.m. Nevins begins his panel by showing us the “Dexter” preview reel that showed at Comic-Con last week. Always happy to start my morning with a little “Personal Jesus.”
9:23 a.m. Now some fresh footage, this for the consulting dramedy “House of Lies,” featuring Don Cheadle (Terrence Howard in Season 2), Kristen Bell and Jean-Ralphio. It seems to mostly be about Don Cheadle talking dirty. At least one shot appears to feature Veronica Mars giving somebody a lap dance.
9:26 a.m. Sunday, January 8 at 10 p.m. between the premieres of “Shameless” and “Californication.” Steve Carell and David Steinberg are producing “Laughing Stock,” an unscripted series in which each episode features an in-depth interview with a stand-up comic. “Laughing Stock” will premiere in 2012.
9:26 a.m. How is Showtime spending the money from its 2 million new subscribers? Showtime has 10 major scripted shows, with more coming. “We believe in investing in renewable resources, which is fundamentally our series,” Nevins says. He adds, “We’re in a good place right now,” though he cautions that “there’s a limit to the amount of stuff you can put on.”
9:29 a.m. Some question about adult content. “We’re not an advertiser environment, so we have the ability to push limits,” Nevins says, calling “House of Lies” both “glossy” and “subversive,” saying that Showtime wants to score with R-rated comedy. And he adds that “Homeland” will touch on “dangerous” themes.
9:30 a.m. What is Showtime’s commitment to “The Borgias”? They don’t have a premiere date for Season 2. He teases that Season 2 will be about “how power corrupts” and that it will be a shift from white collar crime to something “a little bit more violent and visceral.” Nevins says that Neil Jordan has begun to figure out television in the second season. Expect even more famous figures to pop up in the second season
9:32 a.m. Factually inaccurate question about Showtime’s Emmy nominations compared to HBO’s. I’ll ignore. Nevins suggests that because of its odd tone, “Shameless” may pick up more Emmy nominations as it goes along.
9:34 a.m. Is Dexter taking on Jesus in Season 2? “Jesus will not be on the show this year. It’s a really powerful story this season — questions of spirituality, what do I believe,” Nevins says, repeating that the season will be about what Dexter fears he may be passing around to little Harrison. It all ties into a larger criminal story involving Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos, a storyline that also has a spiritual component. Nevins drops a Dan Brown reference, saying there will be clues to be followed this season and there will be an ongoing mystery to be solved. “We take on the taboos,” Nevins says, calling it “a really compelling year.”
9:36 a.m. Is controversy good for Showtime’s business? “Maybe,” Nevins acknowledges. He warns that “Homeland” is “going to freak some people out.”
9:37 a.m. Why was “United States of Tara” canceled? “It was a big show for us,” Nevins says. “You’ve gotta make decisions about where to deploy your resources,” Nevins adds and says that “that show had accomplished what it was going to accomplished.”
9:38 a.m. No decision yet on “The Real L Word,” though he praises the changes made this season. “It’s an audience that we’ve had a long relationship with and it’s been good for us,” Nevins says.
9:39 a.m. How are things going on “100 Bullets”? “I think it’s a very interesting idea for a television series. I’m not ready to make a move just yet, but it’s an important piece for us,” Nevins says. They’re still working on the script for “100 Bullets.” It hasn’t even been sent to pilot, much less series.
9:40 a.m. “I like shows that have some scope. I like shows that feel like they have some bigness to them,” Nevins says of Showtime’s direction going forward. “Homeland” and then “House of Lies” are examples of where the network will be going, going forward. Nevins likes ensembles.
9:42 a.m. Whatever happened to Oliver Stone’s documentary series? Oliver Stone has been distracted making “Savages.” Nevins expects that it will air in 2012 at some point. It continues to be a 10-part series and Stone has completed four or five parts. “It’s a labor of love for him,” a hesitant Nevins says.
9:43 a.m. The next season of “The Borgias” will be 10 episodes, up from nine last season. Yay? Nevins is trying to get more episodes this season from “Episodes.” Nevins wants to note that “The Borgias” is, physically, the biggest show he’s ever been involved with.
9:44 a.m. “I am optimistic,” Nevins says on the future of “Weeds.” He says, “I think that show has real life in it,” praising the directing that “Weeds” has evolved and been reinvented this season. “I haven’t picked it up yet, but I’m optimistic,” he says.
9:45 a.m. Of all of the Showtime shows, “Dexter” has gotten the biggest bump from DVD.
9:45 a.m. More and more cable networks are getting into original programs. Does this concern Nevins? “There’s no substitute for just staying on the cutting edge. A healthy network is in a constant state of renewal and reinvention,” Nevins says. Showtime will continue to be “challenging the audience and challenging the medium.
That’s all, folks…