Edinburgh TV Fest: Showtime’s David Nevins Talks ‘Twin Peaks,’ 'Homeland' and New Pilots
The network's president also talked about cancelling 'Happyish' and the flak he recieved for the finale of 'Dexter.'
A bumper crowd turned up to hear Showtime president David Nevins at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, and were treated to the first glimpse of the trailer for Homeland’s upcoming fifth season.
The teaser showed Carrie working for an individual outside the CIA, and a major hack affecting the organization. “It’s in Europe this time, we’ve only been dealing in the Muslim world so far,” said Nevins. “It’s got a little bit of ISIS, something involving what’s going between Russia and Ukraine. And it starts with a Snowden-style leak.”
But amid returning dramas, Nevins was forced to turn to Happyish, which was canceled after its first season in July.
“There were a lot of elements of the show that I really liked,” he said. “But it was clear that the soufflé wasn’t quite rising. There were seeds of brilliance but it seemed like the seeds weren’t coming together.”
Nevins said he had “open and honest” conversations with lead Steve Coogan and showrunner Shalom Auslander. “I wasn’t like they got a call saying ‘sorry, you’re cancelled’.”
Nevins admitted that he been accused of “going on too long with a couple of shows,” and said he was given a “lot of crap” for the final episode of Dexter. “I actually feel like Dexter didn’t go on for too long and the last season was an interesting resolution to the issues in his life.”
A trailer for the Damian Lewis-starring drama Billions was also screened, with Nevins saying that it had taken him some time to persuade the actor to play another U.S. character in another series so soon after Homeland.
“But Brody was such a shut-down, non communicative guy. I knew this was much closer to what he is,” he said.
With Nevins claiming that Showtime was now in 23-24 million homes – “roughly a quarter of U.S. homes” – he said there was a need to reflect the diversity of the audience. One such offering was a new pilot about a young African-American boy brought up in south Chicago.
Finally, Nevins discussed the hotly-anticipated return of Twin Peeks and confirmed that it had now been written and would start filming soon.
“I feel like it’s satisfying. If you’ve watched the first round, it answers questions and is an incredible journey. It ends with definitiveness,” he said. “It’s just a great exploration of those characters and I think there should be some very fun new characters as well.”
The Edinburgh International Television Festival runs until August 28.