BEVERLY HILLS – After The CW in the morning, it’s time for Showtime, with Entertainment President David Nevins.
It’s unclear if Showtime has anything controversial or newsworthy or even vaguely interesting, but click through…
1:36 p.m. David Nevins calls this a transformative year for Showtime. The network is saying good-bye to some signature shows and welcome new programming.
1:38 p.m. “The Big C” will conclude its run with four one-hour episodes. The “Weeds” finale will be on September 16.
1:39 p.m. Nevins promises that this will be “a game-changing” season for “Dexter.”
1:40 p.m. “The World According to Dick Cheney,” directed by R.J. Cutler will premiere next year, as will documentaries on Richard Pryor and Suge Knight. The network also has Brett Ratner doing a documentary on Tommy Mottola. “Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States” will finally premiere on November 12.
1:42 p.m. Showtime has two new dramas premiering in 2013. Up first, we get clips from “Masters of Sex.” We see lots of clips of modern representations of sex. The pilot, directed by John Madden, has a great look, with its period setting and Michael Sheen seems amusing. This definitely looks much livelier than “Kinsey.” Lizzy Caplan also looks terrific and… yes… nudity. Beau Bridges looks interesting and funny and… no nudity. I have no clue what this show is, but it definitely seems potentially smutty and arty and intriguing. And… lots of nudity. I mean… Starz-level nudity. Using “Making Whoopie” for the promo is silly. But whatever.
1:46 p.m. The next new drama is “Ray Donovan.” First clips. Liev Schreiber is White Don Cheadle. He can fix everything but his own life. You know the Vocational Irony Narrative deal. Liev looks confident and a bit badass and Jon Voight as his newly paroled father looks really intriguing. The narrative conflicts, at least in the teaser, look fairly familiar, but I’m OK with that if Liev and Voight have fun chewing scenery.
1:50 p.m. Is there a possibility of “Dexter” continuing beyond next year? Nevins says that it’s “the likely scenario” that the show will end after its eighth season. “I think everything has gotten rewired this season in a very interesting way,” he promises.
1:51 p.m. How many more years does Nevins see in “The Borgias”? The original plan was four seasons and the third season is currently shooting. “I think that’s still the likely thing,” Nevins says, though he says a fifth season is possible, not that a fourth season has been ordered. The decision will belong to the creators.
1:52 p.m. Nevins says that “Masters of Sex” may be more serious than the clips we just saw. “I think the script has enormous wit, but the fundamentals do come from the book,” Nevins says, promising that the drama will be central.
1:53 p.m. “We’re trying to improve every single thing,” says Nevins when he’s asked what they can do better. He predicts both “Homeland” and “House of Lies” should become mainstays and he’s predicting a big 2013.
1:54 p.m. What conversations does the network have with creators about tweaks? “Mostly I just challenge them to make the unexpected choice,” Nevins says. The game, he says, is staying one step ahead of the audience. “You better not fall into predictable patterns. As soon as you get predictable, you get boring,” he says. He adds that he doesn’t like shows that wait til the very end for gamechanging moves, praising “Homeland” for its choices. He also praises the “great benefits” to “Nurse Jackie” and “Dexter” from changing things up and not avoiding consequences.
1:56 p.m. “I’m expecting ‘Episodes’ to come back,” Nevins says. They’re working on the details and the production deal is “irregular,” so it’s slower to get the show back on the air.
1:57 p.m. What is Showtime’s digital strategy? They’re hoping to have Showtime Anytime for most distributors. “We want to encourage subscribership. We don’t want to give our programming away to non-subscribers. But if you’re a subscriber, we want to let you watch it the way you want to watch it,” Nevins says. He doesn’t think digital is a huge part of how people watch either Showtime or HBO. “I’m happy however you want to watch us,” he insists. He says that 65 to 70 percent Showtime’s viewing doesn’t come in primary premiere airings.
1:59 p.m. Nevins has read the final script for “Weeds.” “It was very carefully planned towards,” he hints. He worries that Jenji Kohan would kill him if he spoiled anything. “I would love it,” Nevins says of working with Mary-Louise Parker again.
2:00 p.m. Ron Howard’s period drama “Conquest” is still in the earliest stage of development. It doesn’t have a script yet. “I think there’s a very interesting show to be done that has genre elements, that has elements of supernatural and horror,” he teases. It’s set in a pre-modern time and involves the Aztecs and Spanish-Catholics coming together. “it’s a kind of a period show that no one has done,” he says. But, again, there is no script. “It’s loaded with potential,” he says.
2:03 p.m. Lots of big names in comedy for “Inside Comedy.”
2:03 p.m. “The Franchise” is up a little from last year, though he tells us to report it as “flat.” Nevins hopes to stay in the “Franchise” business in future seasons.
2:04 p.m. “I’m not trying to change the tune. I think that is likely. But I would be stupid if I didn’t leave the door open…” Nevins says, repeating his thoughts on “Dexter.”