CBS Corp. Names Showtime Head David Nevins Chief Creative Officer

DAVID NEVINS - Getty - H 2018
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David Nevins' rise continues.

In a bid to stabilize an organization rocked by scandal, the Showtime CEO has been elevated to CBS Corp.'s chief creative officer as the company continues its reorganization following Leslie Moonves' September ouster. The new position will make Nevins the highest-ranking creative executive at the media giant currently being run by acting CEO Joe Ianniello. In addition to Showtime, where Nevins will continue to oversee the business as CEO, he'll now have oversight of programming, marketing and research across CBS TV Studios, CBS' entertainment division and, in conjunction with CBS Interactive, programming for CBS All Access. He'll also add CBS' interest in younger-skewing broadcaster The CW to his purview. 

The announcement, which also included the appointment of longtime Showtime finance head Chris Spade as executive vp and CFO for CBS Corp., follows a significant and necessary restructuring in the wake of Moonves' departure amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Ianniello was quickly elevated to acting CEO, and is moving swiftly to right the ship as CBS' board considers Moonves' permanent replacement. Nevins' name has been bandied about for the top role, though his lack of Wall Street-side experience made such a position unlikely. His promotion to CCO suggests that the board will install a business-minded executive -- odds increasingly are on Ianniello -- in the top role. Indeed, Moonves had been the rare executive who spoke both languages — that of Wall Street and Hollywood.

Nevins, for his part, has been with CBS Corp. since 2010, when Moonves tapped him to replace Robert Greenblatt at the company's premium cable network. He was elevated again in 2016, when he was officially named CEO. He made his mark almost immediately with the addition of Homeland, which quickly presented itself as a ratings and critical stalwart. In fact, early in his tenure, the Claire Danes series took home a slew of Emmys, including the best drama statuette, making Nevins and his new network the envy of the industry.

His follow-ups have yielded more mixed results, which is not altogether surprising in a marketplace as competitive as this one. While series like Billions have lured viewers and those including SMILF have garnered critics, the combination that Homeland once delivered has proved elusive. Still, recent bets including Jim Carrey’s Kidding and a forthcoming Roger Ailes miniseries have the industry paying attention. Thursday's news, which has been the subject of industry-wide rumblings for at least a week now, is said to be welcomed within the company.

"David has a brilliant creative mind and an impressive track record of success at Showtime and in the entertainment industry. He is a forward-thinking leader who has driven programming excellence and subscriber growth for the cable network and its growing over-the-top service. The combination of David working with the outstanding and proven creative leaders we have in place will continue to build our position as a global premium content powerhouse,” Ianniello said Thursday in a statement announcing the news. 

Added Nevins, "We have great strength in the creative leadership across the company's content divisions, and I am excited to get to work with the talented teams that run CBS' programming services. Together, we are committed to growing our businesses, offering industry-leading shows that are among the most powerful and most loved across broadcast, streaming and premium cable."

Before Showtime, Nevins did a lengthy stint at Imagine, where he produced a cadre of hits, including Arrested Development, 24 and Friday Night Lights. Before that, he worked in the broadcast network space, first at NBC and then at Fox. This new role will reunite him with the network programming model. 

Spade, for her part, has spent two-plus decades at Showtime. With the latest promotion, her purview expands to include oversight of all financial operations at the CBS Corp.: treasury, tax, accounting, internal audit, information security and real estate. In her prior role, Spade has been instrumental in such things as the successful scaling of the Showtime OTT platform, which launched in 2015, and was the key financial architect of myriad real estate deals and transactions at Showtime. In making the announcement, Ianniello noted that Spade had been successful at one of the company's most profitable businesses for two decades.

Iannello's memo to staff announcing the promotions is below.

I am pleased to share some news about two more important additions to my senior management team: David Nevins and Christina Spade.

David has been appointed as our chief creative officer, a newly created position for us. Premium content is the lifeblood of our company, and I feel fortunate to have David and the talented creative leadership team already in place to guide us forward in that regard. In addition to his new corporate role, David, who joined Showtime in 2010, has also been promoted to chairman of Showtime Networks Inc., and will remain as the business’ chief executive officer.

I am also very pleased to announce that Christina Spade will be our executive vice president and chief financial officer. She has been an outstanding CFO at Showtime, and I look forward to Chris stepping into her new expanded role. Chris already has established deep relationships within the company, having worked closely with our finance team for many years, and I know she will hit the ground running.

Please join me in congratulating David and Christina.