TCA: Showtime’s David Nevins Addresses ‘Borgias’ Protesters, Netflix, ‘Dexter’ Spinoff

HRTS panel tackles TV's evolving math
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Showtime’s summer TCA session kicked into gear with a “Dexter”-themed lunch at the Beverly Hilton Tuesday, but not without a heavy dose of “The Borgias” flying overhead.

Protesters stood outside the confab in an effort to persuade the pay TV execs to bring back the period drama, which Showtime cancelled this summer after three seasons. A plane also flew above the lunch with a banner reading, “D Nevins: Sho Fans You Care!”

The showing had little effect on Showtime prez David Nevins, who addressed the issue at the network’s exec session after lunch.

“I know we all got buzzed at lunch by the airplane,” the topper joked. “I feel bad about the money that’s being spent. As I was pulling in today, there was one protester out there and I rolled my window down and asked with he thought of ‘The Borgias’ finale and he said, ‘I haven’t seen it.’ He was apparently a paid protester, which was a little disappointing. I was thinking we could borrow some of the people from ‘Reign’ to beef up the ranks.”

(The CW did eventually send people dressed in “Reign’s” period attire to offer food to the “Borgias” protesters outside.)

In a more serious tone, Nevins noted, “We looked hard at doing a two-hour finale for ‘The Borgias’ and the economics of it just didn’t make sense. We didn’t move forward, and it came to a good stopping place at the end of season three.”

Showtime rolled out a slew of news to complement its TCA session, including word that Josh Hartnett and Eva Green will topline forthcoming drama “Penny Dreadful.” Dubbed “literary horror” by Nevins, the prez remarked that the series won’t skimp on the horror and “is going to scare the shit out of people.” Additionally in casting, Ruth Wilson has been tapped for the female lead role in the pilot for “The Affair.”

One journo asked Nevins about the future of veteran drama “Dexter,” and whether a spinoff is viable.

The exec coyly replied, “We announced a deal with Scott Buck today,” referencing an overall inked between the “Dexter” scribe and the network. “Draw your own conclusions.”

The paybler also announced “Time of Death,” a doc series from Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth of Magical Elves that will follow people during the final days of their lives. Nevins said, “It’s not an easy show to watch, but it’s a subject I’ve wanted to explore in detail.”

Showtime’s digital presence, Showtime Anytime, beefed up its offerings by adding live east coast/west coast feeds of shows that can be accessed via laptop, iPad, iPhone, or other mobile devices equipped with the platform. West coast subs will be able to hit a “live TV” button on the app and tune into a broadcast of, say, “Ray Donovan,” and view along with east coast viewers.

Nevins mentioned that while an a la carte streaming platform for Showtime may available in the future, it’s too “premature” to discuss the option in a serious manner at this point. HBO chiefs offered similar words about an HBOGO a la carte offering, as well.

The Showtime head doled out extensive comments on Netflix’s episode roll out strategy, along with the streaming site not releasing ratings.

“I think the way Starz, HBO and we offer programming offers the best of both worlds. You can save it up and binge, or watch it one at a time,” Nevins explained. “…I still believe in the pleasure of giving [the episodes] out one at a time. I think watercooler chatter, the Monday morning quarterbacking, the in depth criticism that occurs on a weekly basis, it’s all meaningful. There is really smart [writing and criticism] that gets done in this ballroom. It can’t happen in the same way when everything gets dumped at the same time.”

He added: “Netflix is playing an interesting game…[but] for me, ratings are a function of showmanship. I think it’s meaningful when I can say ‘Ray Donovan’ is the biggest first year show we’ve ever had.”

Nevins also touched upon his fearlessness when it comes to change in his network’s serialized dramas, specifically on shows like “Homeland,” which has killed off several key characters over its two runs. The prez cited NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” in the discussion, which he helped shepherd from book to series and produced, and how he overhauled a good deal of the cast and the show continued on.

“I want our producers to take risks,” he explained. “It’s not about resetting to the beginning in every episode. You move forward in time.”


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  1. Nevins is going to be left standing like a fool crowing about ratings. Ray Donovan premiered in the summer following the much touted final season of Dexter. The actual interest in this show is therefore somewhat artificially ballooned. On network TV this may be alright, but the premium channel game is about attracting different demographics, and new subscribers and keeping established subscribers happy. Does Ray do any of these three things especially well? Nope.

  2. Fans say no to eBook!

    Hasn’t ANYONE learned yet that Borgia fans don’t settle? The screenplay was rushed and in the case of Lucrezia and Cesare their realationship and feelings jumped from A to C with no “B tween.” SaveThe Borgias .com are continuing our fight on SMGO.TV and will try every avenue of possibility. We are Borgias too and we never give up

  3. IAmBorgia says:

    This article means a lot to supporters/members of the Save The Borgias campaign!!! All fans are asking is for David Nevins to reconsider cancelling The Borgias and produce Season 4 (as promised) OR the 2-hour finale movie which already has a written script! Persons interested in joining in this effort can visit,, to get in on the action!……..ONWARD!

  4. Regina Adami says: web site, Facebook group, and page, and any member thereof, are in no way participating in, or a part of any slanderous comments about Mr. Nevins. We were not associated with the Pope and he in no way represents us. No, we are not happy with Mr. Nevins response, but we will take no part in slandering his name, nor be held responsible for anyone that is participating in this behavior.

  5. Fiore Grey says:

    We had written letters, e-mailed, tweeted, begged and pleaded to be heard by Mr. Nevins and Showtime ever since our beloved series, THE BORGIAS, was cancelled in early June. Only to see all our efforts met with a wall of STONE COLD SILENCE. That is, until our PLANE crashed your swanky luncheon, Mr. Nevins! Surrounded by the press, you were finally forced to acknowledge us. And oh, you are a HAUGHTY ONE. Your DISDAIN for the common man subscriber SHOWS IN SPADES! You are also a LIAR because you never spoke to the sign spinner – not a protestor – hired to represent us on the ground. (As if David Nevins would lower himself to speak to a regular person.) I thank VARIETY for the story but at the same time it is pretty apparent the press, as a whole, kisses this man’s _ _ _ (fill in the blanks). SHOWTIME should find themselves a better representative of their network, but then maybe, this is who they really are. You will never see another penny from me, Showtime, and you have earned my ill-will forever.

  6. DL says:

    Ruth Wilson to head up a Showtime series?

    Best news all day!

  7. The gall of some of Nevins comments are disgusting.

    This is the reaction he has to people who are paying for a service.

    People were told they would have four seasons. They pulled out at the last minute and gave us 3.

    That’s like me going to a shop and only getting three quarters of a dress because the shop ran out of money.

    Hey Nevins, instead of begging for money on facebook and sneering at fans, how about you learn to manage your finances so you can *actually* deliver on your promises and do your job properly?

    And FYI, the “paid protester” who you patronised wasn’t a protester at all but someone hired to represent us. Why? Because (a) we aren’t all American and (b) we have to work. That’s right, you enjoy your swanky lifestyle but we work to pay for your company and to pay for your lunch.

    We’ve sent tweets, we’ve done petitions (over fourteen thousand signed), we’ve raised money (over a thousand dollars), we’ve made phone calls, we’ve written emails, we’ve set up media events, tracked down supporters and gotten articles written.

    You don’t recognise anything that we do. Just you and your snarky friends sit their laughing. You do not deserve us as fans and your channel deserves to fail. That lunch you and your cronies were scoffing whilst laughing at us? Yeah, subscribers paid for that.

    We work, have families and many of us are thousands of miles away. We saved up money to do what we could, and you just spit in our faces and then ask for more money.

    Continue treating fans like dirt Nevins it’s fine. When you lose enough subscribers and get dropped, then you can “chuckle” all the way to the employment line.


  8. Deb Cason says:

    Nevins is a moron, that really thinks that the Borgia fans were subdued with that pathetic season 3 ending being used as the series finale!!!! LIVE AND LEARN MR. NEVINS! I really believe that you hate having to keep explaining how you personally are responsible for the untimely cancellation of the Borgias, but no worries the Borgia fans will get what they need on HBO…………….

  9. Fiore Grey says:

    I think you are pissed off as hell about The Save The Borgias campaign, David Nevins.

  10. @IloveandIhate says:

    Let me bring an economic term to Mr. Nevins’ attention. Marginal utility when comparing consumer dollars spent. Funding a campaign or supporting this network? I wonder which one, as a “Borgia” supporter, would have the marginal utility at its highest?

  11. melanie says:

    Please be advised that a correction needs to be made to the article to clarify that the spinning sign Pope is a paid media event supported by The Save The Borgias Fan Campaign members representing thousands of fans of The Borgias and not a “lone protester”!

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