“We make shows that challenge the medium,” Showtime’s president of programming David Nevins told reporters at the annual Television Critics Assn. press tour, pointing to the success of freshman drama “Penny Dreadful.” “We’ve had this nice pattern of new shows come on and are higher rated than the shows that left.”
Nevins made no apologies for “Shameless” switching categories from drama to comedy, a move that garnered William H. Macy an Emmy nod for best actor in a comedy. “There’s an arbitrariness to all of it,” he said. “Any category you do, I’m going to try to defy it. That’s what we do at Showtime.”
“If you ask Bill Macy, he’s giving a comic performance. That’s how he defines his performance, even though it’s an incredibly dark character. It’s a lively time in television. I consider that a good thing.”
And, despite talk of another take on “Dexter,” Nevins said there are no current plans to bring the serial killer drama — or its star, Michael C. Hall — back to Showtime. “I’m in contact with [Hall,] I talk to him,” he said. “He’s an important alum, and I want to stay to close, but there’s nothing active going on.”
As for reviving the show itself, “It’s always within the realm of possibility,” he said. “It worked for Jack Bauer. It worked for the Bluth family.”
Nevins also dismissed rumors that Showtime execs refused to let the showrunners kill off the main character. “It was never even discussed with me — no one even pitched the idea of killing Dexter,” he said. “The only one who really wanted to die was (‘Californication’ star) David Duchovny. He always thought Hank Moody should go out in a blaze of glory.”
Nevins also addressed the status of the series “Happyish,” which was slated to star actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. “I’m sitting on five scripts that I think are brilliant,” he said. “If I can cast it the right way, it’s something I will probably make. But it’s got to be perfectly put together.”
He announced that Bob Dylan documentary “Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued,” produced by T. Bone Burnett and Sam Jones, will air on November 21. The doc explores the making of the basement tapes and their legacy on the culture. “He apparently wrote a lot more songs than ever actually got recorded,” said Nevins.
Showtime also talked about three pilots in various stages of production: “Billions,” by Andrew Ross Sorkin (“Too Big to Fail”), Brian Koppelman and David Levien; “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brose McKenna; and “Roadies,” written and directed by Cameron Crowe and produced by J.J. Abrams.
“I love Cameron Crowe and now I get to work with him,” said Nevins.