×

Showtime Boss David Nevins on HBO, ‘Homeland’s’ Future & ‘Twin Peaks’

The talk of the industry might be Peak TV, but Showtime president and CEO David Nevins says his network has never been in a better place to take on the competition.

Showtime is in the best competitive position we’ve ever been in,” said Nevins, during a conference call with reporters. “A lot of things are going right for us right now.”

Nevins pointed to the cabler’s lineup of series, including “Homeland,” “The Affair,” and “Billions,” adding, “It’s fair to say nobody else has the consistent strength of shows that we have.”

He also credited the network’s roster of talent, saying Showtime has become the “premier destination for top actors and producers around the world.”

“There’s a number of reasons they’re choosing to come to Showtime now,” he said. “Talent knows when we put their shows on the air they’re going to get noticed. We only launch a small handful of highly curated shows in the course of a year. These actors and producers know that their projects are going to matter to us. We’re not in the churn-and-burn business like some of our competitors. We work very hard to provide an atmosphere that fosters creativity. That’s really important for the people making decisions about where to come.”

He dismissed any idea that pay-cable rival HBO was struggling. “From where I sit, it looks like HBO’s doing quite well, but I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game,” he said. “It’s been a good period for us. We’ve been delivering with consistency… It’s not us vs. them. It’s a much bigger universe than HBO vs. Showtime.”

Nevins also announced that a deal was close for a three-season renewal for “Homeland,” which would take the signature Showtime drama through season 8, as well as a scheduling move to January. Alex Gansa will remain as showrunner.

“It’s proven it can reinvent itself year after year,” said Nevins. “Season 6 is really interesting. It deals with that miraculous moment in American democracy when you have a peaceful transition of Presidential power. The entire season takes place in the 70 days between Election Day and Inauguration, when you’re in that transitional time when all the instruments of governmental power are being handed from one administration to another. A lot of complications ensue. ‘Homeland’ has proven again and again an uncanny ability to reflect real-world politics that we live in, and our very difficult place in a 21st-century world and it does it incredibly well.”

He reiterated his goal to have series premiering monthly, and has revamped the network’s scheduling strategy to make that happen: “Masters of Sex” will bow in September, followed by “Shameless” and then “The Affair.” He also said that he was “really excited” about Alex Gibney’s upcoming “Zero Days” cybercrime documentary, which he promised would make news. (It will be released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures on July 8th, and will follow sometime later this year on Showtime.)

“Our future looks very strong and secure,” he said. “There are many exciting shows to come in our pipeline.”

During the call, he confirmed the news announced earlier in the day about the pickup of 20-episode limited series “Purity,” starring Daniel Craig (“James Bond himself,” as Nevins said), calling Jonathan Franzen, Todd Field and David Hare a “dream team” of writers. “I think this will be one of the most talked-about projects in the next couple of years,” said Nevins. “The thing that I love about the show is … for a novel that comes from such a literary master as Franzen, it really reads with the energy of a psychological thriller.” That joins the previously announced pickup of limited series “Guerilla,” starring Idris Elba.

He also announced the pickup of a comedy pilot “White Famous,” based on an original idea from Jamie Foxx and “Californication” creator Tom Kapinos. It’s about what it takes for African-American comedy star to become “white famous” and cross over to a mainstream audience. Casting is just beginning for the lead role; Foxx will play a recurring role.

Nevins also discussed:

• “Twin Peaks”: It will premiere in the second quarter of 2017. Production has been completed, and David Lynch is now in the editing room.

• “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: Nevins said he had no regrets about passing on the pilot, which ultimately landed at The CW. “I’m happy for its success,” he said. “It ultimately feels like found its better audience on the CW.”

More TV

  • Thanks a Million Quibi

    TV News Roundup: Quibi Releases 'Thanks A Million' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Quibi released a trailer for Jennifer Lopez’s “Thanks A Million,” and Variety got an exclusive first look at the trailer for “JJ Villard’s Fairy Tales.” DATES CBS All Access has announced “Tooning Out The News” has resumed production and will now premiere April 7. The show was postponed due to [...]

  • CBS logo

    CBS Studios Says It Is Not Retroactively Cutting Assistant Pay (EXCLUSIVE)

    In the wake of an email sent to CBS Studios term-deal assistants informing them that their wages for the week of March 28 would be capped at 52 hours, CBS tells Variety that the memo was sent out in error, and that there is no plan to retroactively reduce pay for those support staffers. “It [...]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'General Hospital' Shifts to Four Days a Week Amid Coronavirus Shuffle

    Iconic daytime medical drama “General Hospital” is being forced to switch up its schedule, joining a growing list of shows which have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. ABC has announced that the show will now air four episodes per week, Monday through Thursday, instead of its usual five. Starting this Friday April 3, the [...]

  • Black AF Netflix

    Everything Coming to Netflix in April

    As everyone continues to self-quarantine and practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no better “at-home” activity than catching up on all the new films and shows streaming on Netflix this April. A number of new series are set to premiere on the streaming platform, including “Never Have I Ever,” “#BlackAf,” “OuterBanks,” “The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content