Showtime’s David Nevins on the State of the Network – Press tour live-blog

01.12.15 3 years ago


I'm not immediately sure what news might come out of Monday's (January 12) Television Critics Association press tour executive session with Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins, but Nevins is usually good for a frank glimpse into what's happening at the network.

So click through and follow along.

2:15 p.m. PT. Showtime has already given us Krispy Kreme and candy, so we may be wired for David Nevins.

2:20 p.m. I'd forgotten the possibility of “Twin Peaks” stuff here.

2:21 p.m. Nevins says this is arguably the best time to be involved with premium cable and to be covering it. He says he has no details to announce about over-the-top. But he says the network's biggest strength is the “richer, broader, more diverse slate of series.” He'd giddy about Showtime Golden Globe nominations and Emmy nominations. And, of course, “The Affair” won two Golden Globes last night. He thanks us for jumping back on the bandwagon, “however reluctantly,” for “Homeland.”

2:26 p.m. Announcements! April 12 is the premiere date for “Nurse Jackie.” April 26 is the premiere for “Penny Dreadful.” And “Shameless” has been renewed. Woot. And the network has picked up “Happy-ish” to series, with 10 episodes. Machine Gun Kelly is joining the cast of Cameron Crowe's “Roadies.” I'd forgotten that “Prophet's Prey” and “Listen to Me, Marlon,” both documentaries premiering at Sundance, are Showtime docs.

2:28 p.m. Kyle MacLachlan is in the house! “I think you need a damn good cup of coffee,” he says to Nevins. He will be back on “Twin Peaks.” “I'm very excited to return to the strange and wonderful world of 'Twin Peaks,'” he tells us. And he closes with “May the forest be with you.”

2:30 p.m. Nevins says he was begging Mark Frost and David Lynch to bring “Twin Peaks.” He felt like the only way to do it was to have David direct all of them. “I think in David's mind, 25 years was the magic number,” he says. There was an “I'll see you in 25 years” reference in the original. Nevins says that Lynch was interested in a piece of violent art in his office. Nevins says of his role on the show, “More or less writing checks and leaving them alone. It's David's show. It's Mark's show. I will be the grateful recipient of it.” He adds that Lynch and Frost have promised closure. “I think it's going to live up to expectations and then-some,” he teases.

2:32 p.m. What sparks interest at Showtime? “Something that feels new and original, is different from what's happening out there,” he says. “We stay away from things that we have on the air and that other people are doing on the air very well,” he adds. All shows have to have adult appeal and complicated, interesting psychology. He wants things to have depth. He then says that the process of development is to help the writers find the best version of their voice. “Mostly it's just about working with supremely talented people and helping them find the best version of what it is they have inside them,” he says.

2:34 p.m. Are Netflix and Amazon a serious threat? “They're both competitors and customers,” he says. “There are definitely a lot of people coming into the premium space, trying to make high quality stuff,” he says, but he likes their position. He wishes they had “Transparent,” which he calls a great show. “It doesn't seem to be a problem getting people to come to Showtime,” he says. “Our shows get noticed. Our actors get noticed,” he says. With “The Affair,” he wasn't sure if it would get attention. He says that “The Affair” premiered a bit low, but viewership has risen, referencing a ShowtimeAnytime last night. Showtime will rerun “The Affair” on Fridays at 10 p.m. to get more attention. 

2:37 p.m. “It was always designed to be a relationship show,” Nevins says of “The Affair,” which he says was never intended as an anthology. He says there's an idea that there's “moral superiority” in close-ended miniseries or anthology series. He thinks audiences want to make bonds with characters and develop them over time. 

2:39 p.m. Why haven't cable comedies done as well with awards? He's excited to have “Happy-ish” ready to enter that market. He says it has “big funny,” but also heart and emotion. “It's been frustrating that I haven't launched more comedies,” he says. 

2:43 p.m. Is the current wave of miniseries/anthology series a bit misgauged? “There may be a little bit of a bias towards the close-end,” he says. Nevins notes, “I think most people who are watching, they don't have to watch as much as you guys, so when they have a show that they like, they want it to come back.” He says their business is based on “fall in love and keep paying till it comes back.”

2:43 p.m. Nevins says Showtime is looking at some things in the “genre” area that aren't being done. He's looking for genre stuff with adult appeal, sophisticated and depth. “I'm not going to chase 'Game of Thrones.' If you're going to do it, you have to do it in a way that feels original,” he says.

2:45 p.m. “No, nothing really active going on. There's no active development happening,” he says regarding future “Dexter”-related projects.

2:45 p.m. “Needless to say, it's a bit of a scary time to be a maker of controversial, political, boundary-breaking shows,” he says. “It's been a bad month for free speech around the world,” he adds. This is discussing Pakistan's displeasure with the way things were represented in “Homeland.” He says that he thinks Pakistan handled its displeasure in the proper way. “They're gonna go back at it next year. It's not going to shy away,” he promises. Nevins says they have a few different possibilities for the next season.

2:48 p.m. “I read that. I also read some counter,” Nevins says of the “Homeland” finale. He was an advocate for going back to DC for the finale. “I think it's OK to shake it up,” he says. He felt like there were political things in Washington that needed to be tied up and he also felt like Carrie needed to deal with her issues with motherhood. “I happen to love the final episode,” he insists. How involved is Nevins on a creative decisions? “I would say I'm in a lot of contact,” he says, but says the showrunners have final say. 

2:50 p.m. He thinks they're going to have their Tig Notaro going on in April.

2:51 p.m. Regarding the showrunner change at “Ray Donovan,” he says that for the health of the show, they felt like they needed to make a move. “This is a change that's gonna be healthy in the long-run,” he says. He teases that Season 3 will get a little bit beyond the Donovan family and there will be a season-long arc about a different complicated family. There will be a storyline involving “real estate in a certain sport that doesn't have a franchise in Los Angeles.”

That's all, folks…

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