2:50pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Showtime Boss Offers 'Twin Peaks' Details, Discusses "Justified" Raise for Emmy Rossum
Two in a slim group of executives taking the stage during this winter's two-week Television Critics Association's press tour, Showtime executives David Nevins and Gary Levine appeared Monday afternoon to tout several new pick-ups and, perhaps most notably, a finalized plan for the roll-out of Twin Peaks.
It's been two and a half years since Nevins first announced his network's revival of David Lynch's cult-classic drama, which ran for two very odd seasons on ABC in the early 1990s, and the Showtime chief's subsequent TCA visits have been punctuated with unanswered questions about when and how it will be viewed. Well, Nevins doesn't have to play coy any longer, as he announced that Twin Peaks reboot will bow with a two-hour premiere on May 21.
That wasn't everything the CEO and his programming president brought up with the press. The two spoke at length about the pay cabler's evolving business model, including its tiered rollout and a push for OTT subscribers, as well as thoughts about Shameless star Emmy Rossum's well-publicized pay dispute and which of Showtime's programs are well-suited during the Trump administration.
The Wait for Twin Peaks Is Almost Over
Not only will the drama's return take place over two hours on May 21, Showtime subscribers will immediately have access to stream the third and fourth hours. For those of you doing the math, that's 22 percent new Twin Peaks dropping in one night. Nevins and Levine confirmed that the revival comes in at 18 hours long. (As of now, the plan is to air them all in a row.) And, yes, the secretive filmmaker has let his network bosses see all of them. "David Lynch is one of the great film masters of my lifetime," said Nevins. "And I think the version you're going to see is pure heroin David Lynch, and I'm very excited to be the one putting it out." As for how it will be received, the duo admitted that there are no set expectations for this kind of reboot. "I lived through Twin Peaks 1.0 when I was at ABC, and that was a tsunami," added Levine. "It's hard for us to fathom what Twin Peaks will be in a social media environment."
About That Shameless Pay Gap...
As the seventh season of Shameless was coming to an end, the drama made headlines with star Emmy Rossum's salary dispute with producers Warner Bros. Television. The actress, who co-headlined the first seven seasons with co-star William H. Macy, was ultimately given equal pay before the season-eight renewal. And while Nevins was brief when asked to comment, he tried to make it clear that Showtime was in Rossum's corner. "To be clear, it felt like parity was justified in this case," he said. "I think it had a very good conclusion. Emmy has been a force on that show ... in a great way."
Showtime Now Programs With Anytime in Mind
Showtime is down with OTT. The network's unbundled pay service has been seeing upticks during premieres, like the recent Stephen Colbert election special, and that's one reason why they'll be staying the course with monthly premieres for new and returning series. "In our streaming universe, I'm seeing who signed up, who watched and who canceled," Nevins said of the data dump. "It's incredibly valuable. Each time a show comes on, there's a surge of sign-ups. And one thing we've noticed is that between Dec. 26 and the end of February is a great period. People are getting new devices and they're looking for content."
Homeland Will Remain Timely — Even With a Female President
Many have pointed out that Showtime's signature drama Homeland may have jumped the gun in casting a woman as the president-elect for its upcoming transition-timed sixth season, but Nevins insisted the show will be relevant during a Trump presidency. "This is not an avatar for Hillary Clinton," he noted, saying the character blends elements of several previous presidential hopefuls. "However, Homeland deals with an incoming administration and a transition period and deals with issues of trust and mistrust between the permanent state, the intelligence community and the new president."
They're Optimistic About Future Awards Prospects
With HBO getting shut out of Sunday's Golden Globes, despite its surplus of nominations, Nevins was asked how he felt going home empty-handed. "They giveth and they fail to giveth," he said with a shrug. "I'm very excited for what's coming up. We'll have some limited series for the first time, which should be interesting, awards-wise." (Twin Peaks' premiere date, by the way, means that it won't qualify for Emmy consideration until 2018.)