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TCA: Showtime’s David Nevins Makes TCA Debut, Discusses ‘Kennedys’, ‘Dexter’

Nellie Andreeva

David Nevins made his TCA debut today as Showtime’s new entertainment president. He laid out his plan for the network: at least 2 and often 3 series in originals at any point during the year. To accomplish that, he has been ramping development with 2 pilot orders since he took the reins of the network in July: drama Homeland and comedy House of Lies. He said that there will be more pilots greenlighted by the end of the year but nothing imminent. He is looking to expand the genres of the network’s original series like venturing in the political thriller arena with Homeland. He also is making Showtime’s adult-oriented late-night original programming a priority.

During his Q&A session, Nevins was asked about the network’s decision to pass on The Kennedys, the eight-part miniseries recently axed by History. It didn’t really feel Showtime to me, didn’t feel premium cable.” But “I thought it was well done,” he added.

Asked if Dexter might be approaching an end, Nevins said: “I think there is a lot of life left in Dexter.” Why did Showtime renew The Real L Word despite middling ratings for the first season? “I think there is an interesting version of the show that we didn’t quite get last year,” Nevins said.

As for the future of Big Brother After Dark, “It’s been successful for us; I assume if Big Brother keeps going on CBS, we will probably keep going.”

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Showtime Renews ‘Californication’, Picks Up Baseball Reality Series

Nellie Andreeva

Showtime’s brass are really happy with the premiere of its comedy veteran series Californication on Sunday. So happy that they have renewed it for Season 5 after one airing. The cable network’s new entertainment president David Nevins just made the announcement at the pay cable network’s TCA session. On Sunday, Californication’s (848,000) fourth season debut delivered the dark comedy series’ best series premiere ratings ever. Additionally, Showtime announced a greenlight  for new unscripted series featuring behind-the-scenes access with the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants. The series, which will chronicle the Giants’ quest to defend their title through the 2011 MBL season, is done in a collaboration with MLB Prods. Showtime also announced premiere dates for Nurse Jackie and The United States of Tara (March 28) and new drama The Borgias (April 3).

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Comedy About Big Business Nears Pilot Pickup At Showtime

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: It could have easily gotten lost in the shuffle. Matthew Carnahan’s half-hour script House of Lies, set in the world of corporate management consulting, was put in development under previous Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt and was turned in just as the pay cable network was undergoing a regime change in the summer. But new Showtime programming chief David Nevins read it shortly after he started and got behind it right away, putting the project on the fact track and attaching Emmy winner Stephen Hopkins to direct it. Now I hear Nevins is eying it as his potential second pilot order following the pickup of drama Homeland starring Claire Danes. The green light is contingent on locking in the lead, which may not be far off. I hear Don Cheadle is in talks to star in the project, which is described as a sophisticated dark comedy about Marty, a thirtysomething top management consultant who is cutthroat and not afraid to play dirty. Dirt creator Carnahan is executive producing House of Lies with Jessika Borsiczky (FlashForward). Production on Homeland, which just cast Mandy Patinkin opposite Danes, starts on January 10 in Charlotte N.C.

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Showtime Reels In Talent: Inks Deals For Projects With Mark Ruffalo & Anthony Edwards, Jeff Daniels & Timothy Busfield

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Two months into the job, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins is already hard at work building a development slate with some big-name auspices. Among the latest to sign up for projects at the pay cable networks are Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards who are working on a drama project together, and Jeff Daniels and Timothy Busfield, who are collaborating on another project, Happily Ever After, which would star Daniels.

Zodiac co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards co-created and will executive produce the Showtime project. There is hope that they may also star but that is still unclear as Ruffalo’s feature commitments may get in the way. Weeds writer/executive producer Roberto Benabib is writing the script set in the morally ambiguous world of media crisis management and centered on two partners running such a firm. CBS TV Studios is producing. It was was during the filming of David Fincher’s 2007 movie Zodiac, on which they played partners Inspector David Toschi and Inspector William Armstrong, that Ruffalo and Edwards hit it off and began talking about possibly doing another project together. They remained close and kept bouncing around different ideas for potential TV series until they settled on the one about a crisis management firm and brought in Benabib, who has been developing it with them. The three and Cheryl Dollins will executive produce the project, which expands Benabib’s relationship with Showtime … Read More »

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Richard Shepard Forms TV Company With Bryan & Sean Furst, Makes Showtime Sale

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Richard Shepard has teamed with producers Sean Furst and Bryan Furst to launch television production shingle Olé. The new company has already set up two series projects, including Corkscrew at Showtime, which Shepard is writing and directing. Both projects are produced by CBS TV Studios which will handle Olé’s development under Shepard’s overall deal there.

Shepard’s spec Corkscrew, which he describes as “a black comic look at marriage,” was one of the firsts script that new Showtime entertainment president David Nevins read after he joined the network 2 months ago. It represents Emmy-winning director Shepard’s first foray into TV writing. (On the feature side, he has written and directed such features as The Matadors and The Hunting Party). In fact, Corkscrew was first envisioned as a feature before Shepard converted it into a TV series project with the scripts for the first 2 episodes written on spec.

Olé ‘s other project is an untitled medical drama from writers Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper, which recently sold to CBS. Shepard, Sean and Bryan Furst are exec producing with Cooper and Levin.

Shepard, who won an Emmy  for directing the pilot of Ugly Betty, has also helmed the pilots for CBS’ Criminal Minds, and its upcoming spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. Shepard said he had been looking for awhile to parlay his experience directing pilots … Read More »

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Showtime Tweaks January Original Lineup

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Coming in January, all of Showtime’s original series will run on one night, Sunday. Back in July, Showtime announced that new drama Shameless will debut on Jan. 9 and air in the Sunday 10 PM slot. Returning comedy Californication and new half-hour Episodes were scheduled to premiere Jan. 10 and air on Mondays at 10 PM and 10:30 PM, respectively. Now new entertainment president David Nevins has tweaked the plan, putting all 3 series on Sundays: Californication at 9 PM, leading into Episodes and drama Shameless. All will premiere on Jan. 9.

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Showtime Renews ‘Weeds’ And ‘The Big C’

Nellie Andreeva

Veteran Showtime comedy Weeds and freshman The Big C have just been picked up, marking the first renewal for David Nevins since he joined the pay cable network as entertainment president. Big C‘s order is for 13 episodes, Weeds has been picked up for at least 13. Nevins recently made his first move on the development side with a pilot order to Homeland, a drama from 24 executive Read More »

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David Nevins On The Move At Showtime: Picks Up Thriller From Howard Gordon

Nellie Andreeva

In its first major development decision since taking the programming reins at Showtime as entertainment president, David Nevins is close to greenlighting his first pilot, a psychological thriller, from former 24 executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon. Ben Affleck, hot off the No.1 opening of his crime caper The Town, is circling to direct. He has read the script and is very interested contingent on availability. If dates could be worked out, this would mark Affleck’s TV directorial debut. Read More »

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Francie Calfo Named Imagine TV President

Nellie Andreeva

FrancieCalfoVeteran TV executive/producer Francie Calfo is joining Imagine TV as president after more than 20 years at ABC. Calfo will replace David Nevins who is leaving to become entertainment president at Showtime, replacing Robert Greenblatt. Calfo’s deal with 20th TV where Imagine TV is based came after a couple of weeks of negotiations, mostly over financial terms.

Calfo most recently served as an ABC Studios-based producer, executive producing several pilots and one series, this summer’s struggling dramedy Scoundrels. Before that she was EVP at ABC, serving as entertainment president Stephen McPherson’s No.2. She segued into that job after spending a year as a producer, partnered with Stu Bloomberg when the two executive produced the short-lived ABC drama series Life As We Know It.

Calfo was previously an executive at ABC Studios’ predecessor Touchstone TV where she helped develop Alias and CSI under then-boss McPherson. Calfo first joined Disney’s TV team in 1989, in Buena Vista’s TV research department, eventually working her way into programming at Touchstone.

Calfo is the second ABC Studios-based producer to land a president-level job at a 20th TV-based company this week. On Tuesday, Bert Salke was named president of 20th TV’s cable/unscripted division Fox21.

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Greenblatt’s Future Plans: ‘Rebuilding’ A TV Network Or Film Gig Now On His Wish List

Nellie Andreeva

Greenblatt_RobertWith his big decision to leave Showtime behind him, the network’s entertainment president for the past 7 years Robert Greenblatt sounded relaxed in a phone interview today, hours after the network officially announced David Nevins as his successor. “I had been wrestling with [the issue] for the last couple of months until I came to the decision that it was the time to move on,” he said. And no, the decision was not prompted by a new job offer, supposedly from Comcast at post-merger NBC. “I don’t have any specific plans, I’m not in negotiations on anything, and I don’t have anything lined up,” he said.

Greenblatt acknowledged that he, too, has heard the rumors about him possibly going to NBC but stressed that they are just that — rumors. He maintains he has not talked to anyone at the broadcast network or its future parent Comcast about a job at post-merger NBC and that NBC has already put in place a large new primetime slate in an effort to turn its fortunes around. As for ABC, another broadcast network that has suffered a ratings downslide, prompting speculations about potential executive changes, Greenblatt said that he received a “generous” email from his long-time friend, ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, who invited him to discuss opportunities there.

Greenblatt is not taking an extended time off, again supposedly a 5 to 6 month vacation as some have speculated. After signing off from Showtime at end of July, he … Read More »

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Matt Blank and David Nevins Discuss The Top Executive Change At Showtime

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’ … Read More »

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It’s Official: ImagineTV’s David Nevins To Succeed Robert Greenblatt At Showtime

Nellie Andreeva

David_NevinsNEW YORK – (June 28, 2010) – David Nevins, an Emmy Award-winning producer and veteran network programming executive, has been named President of Entertainment at Showtime Networks Inc., it was announced today by Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc., to whom he will report.   Mr. Nevins will succeed Robert Greenblatt, who announced he will leave the network after completing his current contract in July. Nevins, who has served as President of Imagine Television since 2002, will be responsible for developing, acquiring and supervising all aspects of programming for all of the Showtime Networks channels.  He will be based in Los Angeles and begin his new position later this summer.

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