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“I won’t fix what isn’t broken.” So says David Nevins, the Emmy-winning producer and veteran network program executive who has been tapped as president of entertainment at Showtime Networks.
On the other hand, he told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, “I like to be surprising; I want to do television that isn’t boring, that’s muscular.”
Nevins replaces Robert Greenblatt, who said he will leave the pay cabler next month after completing his contract. Like Greenblatt, Nevins will report to Showtime Networks chairman and CEO Matthew Blank.
Having served as president of Imagine Television since 2002, Nevins will be responsible for developing, acquiring and supervising programming for all Showtime channels. He will be based in Los Angeles and begin his new position this summer.
Imagine TV is based at Fox, and Nevins’ exit came as a surprise to many on the lot.
At Imagine, Nevins oversaw development and production and was executive producer for the company’s productions, including critical darling “Friday Night Lights.” He also developed and executive produced Fox’s Emmy-winning comedy series “Arrested Development.” Other shows Nevins has on the air are Fox’s “Lie to Me,” NBC’s “Parenthood” and the upcoming sitcom “Friends With Benefits,” also for the Peacock.
Nevins said the shows he has been involved with are varied and eclectic but all “character-driven” and “auteur-driven.”
“I like to push the medium, and at Showtime I want the best creative people to come and do their work,” he said.
Nevins said he was taking no projects with him from Imagine TV but would be helping the company to hire a replacement.
“I hope someday to buy projects from them,” he said.
Previously, as executive vp programming at Fox Broadcasting, Nevins spearheaded development and current programming for comedy and drama series.
Said Blank, “David’s career has been punctuated by genre-defining programming at every turn, and he has the perfect creative sensibility for Showtime Networks’ next exciting chapter.”
Blank noted that Showtime bucked a downturn during the recsssion, enjoying subscriber and revenue growth the past two years.
“We’re doing more new stuff than ever before,” he said, pointing to such upcoming shows as “The Borgias,” starring Jeremy Irons; “The Big C,” with Laura Linney; and “Shameless,” which stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum.
Asked whether Showtime is feeling pressure from Chris Albrecht’s new emphasis at Starz on epic miniseries including “Spartacus” and “The Pillars of the Earth,” Blank said — while respecting that exec’s attempt to revitalize the channel — his team “just doesn’t really respond to that, or things like that.” Plus, he added, Showtime began work on “Borgias” as a replacement for “The Tudors” more than a year ago. (The ex- HBO topper joined Starz a few months ago.)
Blank also made a point of praising Greenblatt, calling him “one of the finest executives in the business, who has developed some of the most extraordinary original programming of the past decade.”
Showtime’s current roster of originals includes “Dexter,” “Weeds,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Californication.”
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