David Nevins is leaving Showtime better than he found it

Nevins turned what was just another cable movie channel into the home of Shameless, Homeland, Billions and Yellowjackets.

David Nevins will be leaving Showtime, the premium cable channel he truly made premium, at the end of the year. He leaves Showtime in a better place than he found it.

A dozen years ago, Nevins took over the reins of Showtime when the channel was a subscription cable network that aired movie reruns. (They definitely didn’t costs a dime for a dozen—then or now.)

Nevins, a producer whose credits included “Friday Night Lights” and “Arrested Development,” immediately greenlit “Homeland” — one of the top three hits in Showtime history. Dexter: New Blood was his too – as were other Showtime Top 10 series Billions, Yellowjackets and Your Honor. Although Nevins didn’t order “Shameless,” he performed it to great success; Under Nevins’ watch, Showtime was nominated for 244 Emmys and won 33.

In a Thursday staff note obtained by IndieWire, Paramount Global chief Bob Bakish credited Nevin’s “transformation.” [Showtime] to the cultural powerhouse and iconic brand it is today.”

Nevins also brought Showtime into the 21st century by overseeing the push to streaming. Recently, Paramount+ announced it would finally be introducing Showtime via a bundle option. That created an opportunity — and put a magnifying glass on talent redundancy.

“David has ensured that Showtime is central to our differentiated, global, multi-platform strategy,” Bakish wrote in his email. “At the same time, this change has also given us the opportunity to more closely align our studios, networks and streaming operations as we execute on our vision and strategy for the future.”

Nevins is no longer part of this “vision and strategy for the future”. Nor is it about spending oodles of money on the cost-cutting stretch of the streaming wars. Nevins had “caviar” flavor, as an insider who spoke to IndieWire on condition of anonymity put it. Bakish divides the responsibilities of Chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group and Chief Creative Officer of Paramount+ Scripted Series (Nevin’s actual job title) among three fish-and-chip types.

Homeland Season 8 Episode 12 Series Finale Claire Danes

Claire Danes on the Showtime series Homeland.

Sifeddine Elamine / Showtime

Showtime Networks will transition to Paramount Media Networks under Chris McCarthy, the man overseeing MTV, Comedy Central and the “Yellowstone” franchise, which first launched on the Paramount Network cable channel. The show time stream However, teams will move under Paramount Streaming and report to Pluto TV founder Tom Ryan. BET and Paramount Television Studios will report to George Cheeks, who is President and CEO of CBS Entertainment and Chief Content Officer of News and Sports at Paramount+.

A second insider with knowledge of the situation assured IndieWire that Nevins was not fired; he decided to go. Puck’s Matt Belloni reported that Nevins wanted “greater control over scripted content” on Paramount+ and didn’t get it. The second source we spoke to for this story said the decision was more nuanced than that, calling it “an opportunity to simplify organization a bit.” This person added that the “good taste” of the “well-regarded” Nevins will continue to be reflected in future prestige programming under the Showtime banner.

So Nevins will be gone soon, but his legacy should not be forgotten. Without Nevins, Showtime could have become a Cinemax-like existence. Here we should note that Cinemax is still a thing; it’s even a profitable thing. But Cinemax is only available on linear television, a medium far more willing to go to pasture than 56-year-old Nevins. Original series never really worked at Cinemax, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s cable add-on largely plays movies these days. (Warners Miscellaneous Premium TV broadcaster HBO has borne the burden of the original series well.)

As cable cutting continues and streaming services scale, it’s possible — even likely — that Showtime will fold OTT into Paramount+ in the not-too-distant future. Ironically, it’s the very same media consolidation that showed Nevins the door.

A third person told IndieWire that Nevins had autonomy when Showtime was owned by CBS Corp. was. That ended when Viacom and CBS merged again in December 2019. By then, Nevin’s Showtime was taking him to a place better than Starz but shy of HBO. And that’s something Nevins can hang his hat on wherever he hangs his clapboard next.

Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo Season 1 Episode 9 streaming on Paramount+. Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in “Halo” Season 1 Episode 9 streaming on Paramount+.

Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Below you can read Nevins’ farewell email to staff received by IndieWire.

Dear Team,
I am writing to you this morning, you have heard the news from me that I have made the decision that the right time has come for me to step down from my post at the head of the Premium Group at the end of the year.

The good news is that it’s not instant and I’ll help figure out the details of the transition.

I am very grateful for the past 12 years and the different positions I have held in this company. It has truly been one of the greatest joys of my life doing what I love to do with you all. Together we have achieved a great deal. Year after year we’ve managed to make and launch shows that defined the zeitgeist, that wowed, delighted and moved our audiences, and that received praise and accolades from our peers.

A love of good storytelling, being excellent, performing and having passion for what you do is what you all bring with you on a day-to-day basis. I was studying film for the first time when I spent a year abroad in Glasgow during college and the kids there could only dream of telling stories on such a large scale to a global audience. I realized that the great privilege of being an American was that when I graduated, I could take my grandmother’s old Buick, drive to LA, and give my dream a shot—no green card required. And you all helped make this dream a reality.

Most of all, I’m so proud of the team we’ve put together. To those of you who joined before I arrived, to those of you who have joined in the last ten years, and to those of you with whom I have only had the pleasure of working closely since the merger: Thank you. We have built a culture of integrity, respect, collaboration and risk-taking creativity. Together we have transformed our entire business model in recent years. And we’ve attracted some of the most talented creative people in the world to work with us.

I am also very grateful for the support of Bob and Shari and my colleagues on Bob’s leadership team. Your personal commitment to the success of this company and the achievement of our individual goals is what you can only expect from your leadership.

So why now? Quite simply: in the past few months I have come to the conclusion that I am ready for the next chapter in my life and career. The industry is changing fast and I’m really excited to see what the future holds. Most importantly, the leadership team, led by Jana Winograde, Gary Levine, Scott Mills and Nicole Clemens, is more than ready. Plans for 2023 are in place, and I believe the plans for the coming year from Showtime, BET and Paramount Television Studios will be the most ambitious and exciting group of shows we’ve ever put on in a single year. I can’t wait to see it.

Know that I will be here during this transition to support each of you to the best of my ability. I’m really looking forward to our continued relationships because that’s really the best thing about working in this industry: the relationships we develop with each other. That and the sheer joy of serving our audiences with stories that they tape to their screens.

Thanks to you all.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/10/david-nevins-leaves-showtime-1234770034/ David Nevins is leaving Showtime better than he found it

Lindsay Lowe

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