Nevins, who announced his resignation Thursday as chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group and chief creative officer of Paramount+ Scripted Series, cited the evolution of Showtime’s financial underpinnings as among the highlights of his tenure. Over the past few years, as the streaming revolution in TV has accelerated, Showtime’s business model has shifted from entirely wholesale to MVPDs to a “significant” portion of its total revenue coming direct to consumer.
The depth of the change that he helped lead at Showtime and Paramount+ and other parts of Paramount Global were a big part of the reason he decided to make a change in his own career. Nevins will formally exit the Paramount fold at year’s end. As of today, Nevins said he has no specific plans other than to take an extended break from work for the first time in more than 25 years.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and at the core of it is, if I’m going to make a change, I want to do it while I’m still in the center of my career,” Nevins told Variety. “There’s a lot of changes going on in the industry that are interesting, and I want to be in a good position to make the next move.”
Nevins was one of the few senior executives from the CBS ranks left at Paramount since the merger of the former Viacom and CBS Corp was completed in December 2019. The parent company, which changed its name to Paramount Global from ViacomCBS in February, is increasingly focused on funneling resources to build up the Paramount+ streamer. Nevins’ role in steering Paramount+ has been narrowly defined, and in the bigger picture, the writing has been on the wall as most of Nevins’ former CBS Corp colleagues have left the fold. There is also speculation that Showtime’s programming slate will ultimately be integrated into the Paramount+ platform.
As he prepares to move on, Nevins emphasized that Showtime is in strong shape with a raft of strong content coming for 2023 and momentum in streaming subscriber growth. “I’m leaving behind a highly profitable business that is in good shape,” he said. As for Showtime’s long-term future as a brand, he would only say, “My hope is that they continue on that road.”
Nevins was a top creative executive at NBC, Fox and Imagine Entertainment before joining Showtime Networks in 2010 as president of entertainment. The demands of managing content creation process have changed dramatically over the years, and that is the central challenge for leaders in the Peak TV era.
“You’ve got to create environments that the creative side of this business want to work in,” Nevins says. “Talent has a lot of choices now. You’ve got to create an environment where the best creative people want to bring their stuff to you. And you’ve got to do it in a financially challenged environment. And yes, you can win a lot of stuff by writing the biggest checks. But if you create the right environment you can win without writing the biggest check.”
Looking ahead, Nevins says he’s ready to embrace the unknown possibilities that await him.
“Every time in my career, I’ve made a dramatic change, it’s always exhilirating and it leads to growth and new horizons,” he said. “I feel like this moment in my 50s is the right time to do it.”