Nellie Andreeva

Shortly after Showtime officially announced today that David Nevins will be the network’s new entertainment president, succeeding Robert Greenblatt, Showtime Networks’ chairman and CEO Matt Blank and Nevins got on the phone to discuss the change at the helm of the pay cable network. Blank confirmed that no one at the company was particularly surprised by Greenblatt’s decision as he had been discussing for months the possibility of leaving at the end of his current contract, but the resolution did come down pretty quickly. “Over the past couple of weeks it became more clear that Bob’s decision was more imminent, and we were able to commence a search (for his replacement), Blank said.  He wouldn’t discuss if he interviewed other candidates for the job, noting only that “David was the first choice.” Blank said that he didn’t know Nevins personally before he approached him but quickly discovered that “David and I have a pretty easy shorthand in terms of the type of shows he likes and admires.” According to Blank, some of the series Nevins shepherded at Imagine, including Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights, “would’ve been great on Showtime.”

Nevins said the call from Showtime was “a little bit out of the blue.” “I loved being a network executive when I did that job but I wasn’t looking to leave producing. However, that 7-8 years itch does come along (Nevins had been at Imagine since 2002). And I feel like this may be the best executive job in television right now.” Nevins’ deal with Showtime happened so quickly last week that Nevins is still in his Imagine TV office. He is helping with the transition and will start at Showtime later in the summer, with the exact date yet to be determined.

As for the rumor that Robert Greenblatt’s top lieutenant at Showtime, EVP original programming Gary Levine might be a candidate to succeed Nevins at Imagine TV, both Blank and Nevins said that won’t happen. “I need him there, I absolutely do,” Nevins said.

In closing, Blank summed up the executive change: “Things are good now at Showtime and will get even better with David on board.”

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