Showtime Executive Session with David Nevins Press Tour Live-Blog
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9:37 a.m. David Nevins thanks us for our interest in "Homeland," even if we maybe didn't love it. Ratings have been up. So... whatevs! Showtime's newest shows are its highest rated shows.
9:38 a.m. "Penny Dreadful" is premiering on May 11. We're going to get an "exclusive" first look.
9:39 a.m. Showtime has ordered "The Affair," which stars Joshua Jackson, Ruth Wilson, McNulty and Maura Tierney. It comes from a pair of "In Treatment" veterans. We're getting some "Affair" footage. Joshua Jackson has a beard. Everybody is acting hard. Footage seems weirdly gauzy. I think Ruth Wilson may be playing "plain." And yes, there will be lots of sex and "intimacy."
9:42 a.m. Showtime is also going forward on "Happyish," a kinda comedy starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Katheryn Hahn. Guess what? Philip Seymour Hoffman is going to be nominated for an Emmy for this. Yep. I'm going out on a limb. "Happyish" looks like a misanthropic good time. I'm so there. The final laugh in the teaser, which I'd rather not spoil, is AWESOME.
9:45 a.m. "Californication" and "Nurse Jackie" will premiere on April 13. This is the final season of "Californication." "Jackie's back to her old tricks, which is using and lying about it," Nevins teases.
9:46 a.m. The 10-hour event documentary series "Years of Living Dangerously" will also launch on April 13.
9:48 a.m. Question time!
9:48 a.m. The first question is pure ass-kissing. "What made Showtime prime?" or some nonsense. Nevins gives Matt Blank and Les Moonves credit. "These last few years have been good for us," he says, referring around to how successful they've been at replacing the old shows. They're taking risks and trying hard not to copy themselves. "I think we've been sort of broader in the kind of shows that we're putting on. The good thing is that now we've become a destination," he says.
9:51 a.m. Nevins doesn't have dates yet for "Happyish" or "The Affair." Neither will premiere before summer press tour.
9:51 a.m. What conversations has Nevins had with the "Homeland" team about the next season? "Obviously there's a big reset. This is a show that is fundamentally about a field operative," Nevins says, but he admits that we haven't seen Carrie out in the field operating. "The likely plan for next year is you will see her on the ground in a foreign capital doing her job," Nevins teases. Gordon and Gansa are spending next week in Washington, staying at a CIA club and talking to real agents and they'll come back with something in a month.
9:52 a.m. Does Showtime have a target demo for "The Affair"? "We don't spend a lot of time thinking about target demos. We program for adults," he says. He calls it "a gorgeous script." He thinks it will have male and female appear. "It looks at all the small nuances of relationships" from both male and female perspectives. "Not every show needs to appeal to every one," Nevins says of shows and demos, but he hopes Showtime as a whole will appeal to a broad audience.
9:55 a.m. What does Nevins watch and what shows would he like to see on Showtime if he could have grabbed them? He watches a lot of comedy. He watches "Mad Men." He watches "Girls." He watches "Louie." He watches "Daily Show" and "Colbert" and sports. "It's an incredible time to work in television. TV's where it's at," he says. "Every actor is interested in television right now," he says. "There's good people programming most of the premium services and it's exciting. I feel very lucky," Nevins says.
9:55 a.m. What does Nevins think of the anthology/limited series model? He notes it's not new and the miniseries has been a staple since the '70s. "I believe fundamentally in renewable resources," he says, praising "American Horror Story" in this model. He thinks that "Homeland" has aspects of that, because it's going to be different next year. "A lot of the narrative forms are sorta morphing," he says, but he emphasizes that the best thing is to have shows people love and to bring them back. He talks about docu-series as forms of limited series.
9:58 a.m. Is there a threshold for what gets people to subscribe these days? One show? Two? What gets people to subscribe? "It's probably a different threshold for each household," he says. He wants people to be connected to "three shows plus boxing" rather than just one. He doesn't, however, have a "pithy stat," but says it's better to have multiple show.
9:59 a.m. The "Happyish" clip had a piece of amusing branding that he tells us has been "legally cleared through fair use." He wants that show to use real brands. He has raves for the show's creator.
10:01 a.m. "We're incredibly well positioned for whatever... the current ecosystem works real well for us," Nevins says of the possibility that things may change with the structure of cable and cable bundling. They're a subscription service. "We see a lot of opportunity, but it's premature. We're sorta waiting to see how things develop," he says.
10:02 a.m. "My expectation is he'll be central. He'll be important," Nevins says of Mandy Patinkin's involvement in Season 3. Did he expect the criticism of this season? "This season was, I think, pretty brilliant in its architecture," he says, praising the Iran regime change arc and its prescience. "I thought it was very clever and very audacious," he says. "We always knew we were heading to a major reset," he notes.
10:04 a.m. Showtime is emphasizing the value of its subscriber viewing systems, particularly for watching new shows. Once shows have completed their runs, they may still go to Netflix. "Stacking rights" has been one of my favorite terms to come up over and over on press tour. Showtime Anytime will still have Showtime shows, but Netflix will have other stuff, once it's off air.
10:06 a.m. How is the pilot process working at Showtime? "I like how we do it," he says. "Happyish" is a script they've loved for a long time and it took them a long time to get to Philip Seymour Hoffman, but they didn't have to rush. "Totally worth it for the wait," he says. "Penny Dreadful" didn't even shoot a pilot. They just ordered it, because John Logan had written the entire series. "I believe in pilots," he says. When it comes to the busted pilot "The Vatican," he says that the world changed with Pope Benedict's departure.
10:08 a.m. "I was wondering if we could talk about sex a little bit," asks a reporter. "Alyssa!" Nevins says to Friend of HitFix Alyssa Rosenberg. "You're always looking at things that can differentiate you from the advertiser-supported networks," he says. "Sexy is certainly one of them. I just want to be interesting about it," he says. But he notes that "Time of Death" got a lot of attention and "surprisingly high viewership numbers." "It's not only sex and violence. But you only want to talk about sex," he kids. Is Showtime shifting to focus on the emotions behind sex more than sex and sleaze? "Just having sex on television is not so amazing anymore, so you have to have something interesting to say about it, something interesting to explore," he says.
That's all, folks...