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The Showtime head, chief creative officer for Paramount+ scripted originals, and chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group will depart the company at the end of the year, he told staff in a memo Thursday.
“I am tremendously grateful for the past 12 years and the varying positions I’ve held at this company,” Nevins wrote (read the full memo below). “It has truly been one of the great joys of my life to get to do what I love to do with all of you. Together, we’ve accomplished an enormous amount. Year after year, we’ve managed to make and launch shows that defined the zeitgeist, that excited, delighted, and moved our audiences, and that received adulation and awards from our peers.”
“I’ve been thinking about [leaving] for a while,” Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter. “It felt like as good as time as any. If I was going to make a change, I wanted to do it when I’m in my prime. I think the industry is transforming in a lot of interesting ways and exciting possibilities. I feel like the businesses I’ve been running are in good shape. I want to be clear that it was my own choice and decision and not a casual decision. I want to help this transition so I’m staying on until the end of year. I’m leaving the businesses in good shape, and there’s a lot of exciting programming coming next year. Twelve years is a long time.”
Nevins’ portfolio will now be distributed among several executives at Paramount Global, per a memo from CEO Bob Bakish. Paramount Media Networks head Chris McCarthy will take responsibility for Showtime, adding it to his portfolio of cable outlets including Paramount Network, Comedy Central and MTV. CBS president and CEO George Cheeks will add Paramount TV Studios and BET to his purview, and streaming chief Tom Ryan will take over Showtime’s streaming operations. Showtime programming was added to Paramount+ in late August as part of a bundle offering, and the premium outlet’s stand-alone streamer may eventually be folded into Paramount+ entirely.
“David’s leadership, creativity and grasp of what audiences love has not only produced hits — it has helped us grow and define our business during a time of transformation,” Bakish wrote. “David has made sure that Showtime remains central to our differentiated, global, multi-platform strategy, all while supporting our incredible teams at BET and Paramount Television Studios as head of the Premium Group. He’s helped grow Paramount+, our flagship streaming service, too, investing in scripted originals like Halo — which has attracted subscribers and driven audience engagement around the world. And for two years as Chief Creative Officer at CBS, he brought his unique expertise and creative acumen to America’s most-watched television network.”
Rumors of Nevins’ departure had circulated for months within the industry. Still, his decision to leave is considered a surprise as he was among the few senior executives at Paramount Global who had strong ties to the creative community given his background as a former producer (Friday Night Lights) and his tenures at Imagine Television and Showtime.
As for the revamped duties for McCarthy, Ryan and Cheeks, Bakish wrote, “Chris, Tom and George will work closely with each of these teams to ensure we continue to create the must-watch content that customers expect and receive from us — across all our platforms, and all the regions we operate.”
McCarthy is a longtime Bakish favorite since Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) began cleaning house post-merger. Each of Viacom’s cable brands (MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Nickelodeon, etc.) once had its own executive leadership, but McCarthy has rapidly added those networks to his purview under Bakish’s cost-saving efforts. McCarthy remains charged with the linear networks’ oversight even as the majority of the conglomerate’s resources are going to streaming.
Even with Nevins’ departure and McCarthy’s added responsibilities, he still has no role in Paramount+ despite the streamer being a hub for all of the company’s global brands. As one comedy producer noted to The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s more DNA of Comedy Central on HBO Max than on Paramount+, which is crazy.”
Nevins joined Showtime in 2010 as entertainment president, moved up to president of Showtime Networks in 2014, and succeeded Matt Blank as chairman and CEO at the end of 2015. Following the remerging of CBS Corp. (which housed Showtime) and Viacom, he added oversight of Paramount TV Studios and Paramount+ originals to his duties.
Prior to joining Showtime, Nevins was head of Imagine TV from 2002-10; during his tenure, the company produced shows including Arrested Development, 24 and Friday Night Lights. He also held key programming posts at Fox and NBC.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Nevins’ departure.
Nevins’ full memo is below.
I am writing this morning, so you hear the news from me that I’ve made the decision that the time is right for me to step down from my post atop the premium group at the end of the year.
The good news is that it’s not immediate and I’ll be helping to figure out the details of the transition.
I am tremendously grateful for the past 12 years and the varying positions I’ve held at this company. It has truly been one of the great joys of my life to get to do what I love to do with all of you. Together, we’ve accomplished an enormous amount. Year after year, we’ve managed to make and launch shows that defined the zeitgeist, that excited, delighted, and moved our audiences, and that received adulation and awards from our peers.
Love of good storytelling, being excellent, showing up and being passionate about what you do, that is what all of you have brought to the table day in and day out. When I spent a year abroad in Glasgow during college, I studied film for the first time and the kids there truly could only dream of being able to tell stories on such a grand scale to a world-wide audience. I realized the great privilege of being American was that after graduating I could take my grandmother’s old Buick, drive to LA and give the dream a shot — no green card required. And you all have helped make that dream a reality.
Most of all, I’m so proud of the team we’ve put together. To those of you who predate my arrival, to those of you who have joined in the past decade and to those of you who I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with only since the merger: thank you. We’ve built a culture of integrity, respect, collaboration, and risk-taking creativity. Together we’ve transformed our entire business model over the past few years. And we’ve been able to attract some of the most talented creative people on the planet to come work with us.
I am also immensely thankful for the support of Bob and Shari as well as my colleagues on Bob’s leadership team. Their personal commitment to the success of this company and the achievement of our individual goals are what you can only hope for from your leadership.
So why now? Quite simply, over the past several months I’ve come to the conclusion that I am ready for the next phase of my life and my career. The industry is transforming rapidly, and I am genuinely excited about what the future holds. Most importantly, the leadership team led by Jana Winograde, Gary Levine, Scott Mills and Nicole Clemens are more than ready. The 2023 slate is set, and I believe the coming year’s schedules from Showtime, BET, and Paramount Television Studios are going to be the most ambitious and exciting group of shows we’ve ever put out in a single year. I can’t wait to watch it happen.
Know that I will be here during this transition to support each of you to the best of my ability. I very much look forward to our continued relationships because at root that’s what’s best about working in this industry: the relationships we build with each other. That and the sheer joy of serving our audiences with stories that glue them to their screens.
Thanks to all of you.
Additional reporting by Lesley Goldberg
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