Nellie Andreeva

Fans of The Borgias took their Save The Show campaign to TCA, hiring a plane to hover over the Showtime-sponsored outdoor lunch today carrying a “Save The Borgias” banner addressed to Showtime and its entertainment president David Nevins. Nevins referenced the stunt during the network executive session, which followed. “I feel bad about the money being spent,” he said, adding that he also encountered what he described as a “paid protester” on his way in. Nevins also re-addressed the reasons for cancelling Borgias and scrapping the idea of a movie that would wrap up the story. “We looked hard at looking a two-hour finale but the economics didn’t make sense,” Nevins said. “It came to a good stopping point.”

Nevins also discussed emerging competitor Netflix. “Netflix is playing an interesting game, who knows who’s watching what,” He said, referring to Netflix’s refusal to share data about its viewership. “Ratings is a function of showmanship… It’s a rich time to be making premium television.”

Nevins also was asked about Ray Donovan executive producer Bryan Zuriff, who yesterday took a leave of absence from the show after pleading guilty to running an illegal gambling operation. “My basic reaction was sadness and disappointment,” Nevins said, adding that Zuriff’s departure will not affect the show.

On the announcement side, Episodes, House Of Lies and Shameless will return on January 12, with Californication joining Nurse Jackie in the spring when new horror series Penny Dreadful also is expected to premiere after starting production in October. Said Nevins of Penny Dreadful, “I think it will scare the s**t out of people.” Nevins also confirmed a pilot greenlight to Trending Down, a half-hour comedy pilot about young-obsessed culture starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kathryn Hahn.

Related: TCA: Josh Hartnett & Eva Green To Star In ‘Penny Dreadful’

Showtime also is launching a live feed, with both East Coast and West Coast available on Showtime Anytime.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.

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