Showtime’s David Nevins on ‘Shameless,’ Bob Dylan, ‘Dexter’ Finale

“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.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to

    'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus

    Kermit, Miss Piggy and co. are coming to Disney Plus. A short-form unscripted series starring the goofy puppets is set to premiere on the forthcoming Disney streaming service in 2020. The news was announced at the Disney Plus D23 Expo event. The announcement came with a brief teaser of Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel [...]

  • Succession HBO

    'Succession' Composer Nicholas Britell on Making Music for the One Percent

    The Roys, the media empire family at the heart of HBO’s “Succession,” are ridiculously rich. They’re manipulative and cruel. They’re also a bit delusional and absurd. When Nicholas Britell conceived the show’s score, he wanted to capture all of that. “I wrote in this almost late-1700s, dark classical zone,” says Britell, the Oscar-nominated composer of [...]

  • Ewan McGregor of 'American Pastoral'Variety and

    Ewan McGregor Confirms Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney Plus Series to Shoot Next Year

    Ewan McGregor has confirmed that he will be reprising the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for a Disney Plus series centered around the powerful Jedi, after Variety previously reported that he was in talks for the series. At Disney biennial D23 convention in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, McGregor provided more details about the prospective show and [...]

  • Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes. Professional wrestlers

    Listen: Brandi and Cody Rhodes Give Wrestlers’ Perspective to AEW

    Wrestlers and husband and wife duo Brandi and Cody Rhodes bring an inside the ring perspective to their executive roles at the nascent All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Cody Rhodes, executive vice president, and Brandi Rhodes, chief brand officer, spoke on Variety’s “TV Take” podcast with Joe Otterson about their new wrestling league.  AEW will put [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content