“Dexter” is back!
“Homeland” dominated the Emmys (but declined in quality)!
“Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex” are coming!
Expect these to be topics discussed when Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins meets with the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday (January 12) afternoon.
Click through for the full live-blog…
1:39 p.m. Nevins’ arrival is preceded by two different sizzle reels, both causing variable degrees of seizures.
1:42 p.m. We start with announcements. Showtime is over 22 million subscribers. Both “Dexter” and “Homeland” set Showtime ratings for their finales, with “Homeland” averaging 7.5 million viewers in its full finale week. So 2013 will be about “strategic repositioning” and growth. “House of Lies,” “Californication” and “Shameless” all premiere tomorrow.
1:43 p.m. “Inside Comedy” premieres on February 11. April 14 will be “Nurse Jackie” and “The Borgias.” “The Big C: Hereafter” premieres on April 29. “Dexter” is moving up to a June premiere. That means that with “Dexter” premiering on June 30, they’ll have it lead into “Ray Donovan.” Then on September 29, “Homeland” will air at 9 p.m. and lead into the series premiere of “Masters of Sex.” And “Years of Living Dangerously,” a documentary series from a variety of big names, including James Cameron, will premiere in the fall. “The World According to Dick Cheney” premieres on March 15. Antoine Fuqua’s Suge Knight documentary will premiere in April.
1:48 p.m. Pilots! Showtime previously announced development on “The Vatican,” which will be directed as a pilot by Ridley Scott, beginning production in April. “Penny Dreadful” comes from John Logan and Sam Mendes, which sounds like “League of Extraordinary Villains,” basically.
1:50 p.m. Has Showtime given up on original movies? “I think for us, we’re concentrating our resources. Series is probably our first priority,” Nevins says, adding that sports and documentaries are also big 2013 pushes.
1:50 p.m. How did Nevins feel about the second half of the second “Homeland” season? “I love it,” he says. “I really liked Season 2,” Nevins says. He’s a big fan of TV criticism now and says that some of our criticisms seem fair, but he’s concerned about nit-picking. He lectures us on “suspension of disbelief” and says that there’s a truth to the “Homeland” characters and that show. “I have enormous confidence in the people who write and perform that show,” he says.
1:52 p.m. Nevins is asked to wade into the “Should Netflix/HBO/Showtime be giving out ratings”? He says that while he acknowledges ratings aren’t related, it’s an issue of transparency and showmanship in giving out ratings. Nevins notes, “You guys are in the business of covering hits and we’re in the business of making hits.” He says simply, “Transparency is, I think, the real reason.”
1:54 p.m. “Homeland” will be back at the same time as last year, while “Dexter” is coming back early. The “Dexter” team knew the plan early. “No less production time. A little bit less vacation time between seasons,” he says.
1:55 p.m. “I’m not making any announcements today about when ‘Dexter’ will end. I think I will clarify before ‘Dexter’ goes on the air for this next season. There’s a clear end game in place. I can’t talk about it just yet,” Nevins says of whether or not this will be the last season for “Dexter.”
1:56 p.m. Nevins isn’t worried that “Dexter” and “True Blood” will be going head-to-head. He notes that in the fall, “Dexter” was on against Sunday Night Football. He expects that the shows have overlapping audiences, but people will find the both, the same way people watched “Homeland” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
1:57 p.m. Nevins says that the new season of “The Borgias” is about the family starting to come apart. He calls the finale of this upcoming season “intense.” There are no plans to give the show a multi-season renewal, because that’s not what Showtime does.
1:58 p.m. “The Franchise” broke news last year with Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins. They don’t necessarily have an order for next season. “It’s a question of finding the right team and making sure we have the right cooperation,” Nevins says.
1:59 p.m. “Nurse Jackie” is on its own for some of the spring. “Big C” is going to be hours this season, which meant “Nurse Jackie” didn’t necessarily have anything to partner with.
2:00 p.m. More on the potential end of “Dexter.” He says the decision to end “Dexter” is ultimately a creative decision.
2:00 p.m. “I think ‘Gigolos’ is the corner of our late-night franchise,” Nevins says, without much context.
2:02 p.m. There’s no plan for “Californication” to have an end-date, necessarily. He’s optimistic about it having another season.
2:02 p.m. Does “Homeland” need an end-game? “‘Homeland’ is a show that is incredibly changeable… and can go in a lot of different directions,” he says. “I think ‘Homeland’ is in a very interesting place. They… made the decision to end this season with a fairly clear set-up for Season 3, which is kind of the opposite to where they ended Season 1,” Nevins says. The first two seasons were about tracking the initial movement between Carrie and Brody and they’re at the very early stages of making arcs for the third season. He won’t say anything about whether or not Damian Lewis is a regular next season.
2:05 p.m. More on Damian Lewis. Nevins says that it’s creatively determined and if they came to him and said they needed Brody gone, it would be acceptable to the network. That obviously doesn’t mean it’s happening.
2:05 p.m. Nevins likes that pay cable gives him chance to talk about things like end-games. “It’s really important to me that our audience feels taken care of, that they know when the end is coming, that it makes sense,” he says. “I say ‘Dexter’ to Showtime is what Batman is to Warner Brothers,” he says, emphasizing how much care he wants to take with the franchise. He references his work making sure that “Friday Night Lights” had a satisfactory conclusion when he was still on the studio side.
2:07 p.m. Let’s talk about sex! ‘We have the ability to be adult, try to use the lack of restrictions we have… use it to most interesting effect,” he says, talking of Showtime’s “freedom and ability” to explore taboo subjects. “‘Masters of Sex’ feels like a show that only we can get away with, that only pay cable can get away with,” Nevins says. That starts production in two weeks, he says, noting that “Masters of Sex” feels very contemporary, even though it’s a period show.
2:10 p.m. What is the plan for “Episodes”? “Episodes” is splitting production between London and Los Angeles and will be on the air early in 2014. Nevins made a pact with the creators that the show would be done on their schedule. He doesn’t have any good spoilers for where things are going, story-wise. And ‘Web Therapy” will be back this summer. He promises more “enormous” guest stars.
2:12 p.m. What is the tone of “Penny Dreadful”? “John Logan is really one of the great writers,” Nevins raves, calling him “a very interesting brain.” Logan will write every episode of the series. “He has been obsessed with monsters in literature since childhood. It’s a show he’s always wanted to do,” Nevins says. “It’s very realistic. It’s very grounded. This is not Bela Lugosi,” he says. Nevins promises the show will be “fairly ensemble,” comparing it to “Downton Abbey” in that respect. He calls it “psychological” and “erotic.”
2:14 p.m. Matt Damon plays himself on an upcoming episode of “House of Lies.” Nevins says that “House of Lies” goes to another level this season.
2:16 p.m. Does Showtime plan on doing comedies that don’t relate to the ethical challenges of the main characters? “‘Human foibles’ is what you’re saying,” Nevins says, promising that Showtime will go in a lot of different directions and he has “big plans.”