As part of the Showtime portion of the TCA Press Tour, President of Entertainment David Nevins took some time to talk about the status of a number of their current shows, as well as a couple of their upcoming projects. During the interview, he confirmed that Season 8 will likely be the last for Dexter, the status of Episodes, the future of The Borgias and Californication, what they see for Homeland, and why they’ve chosen to wrap up The Big C with four one-hour episodes. Nevins also talked about the tone of Masters of Sex, and the development of the Aztec drama Conquest with Ron Howard. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
DAVID NEVINS: I think that’s the likely scenario, but I’m not making any announcements today. Plans can always change. I think everything has gotten rewired this year, in a very interesting way. Given that Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) has to deal with who her brother is, everything changes. So, we’ll see where that carries us. I’m not trying to change the tune, but I would be stupid if I didn’t leave the door open for somebody to say, “We have an idea. We want to do it differently.” But, I have a sense of what’s going to happen this year, and I have a strong sense of what’s going to happen next year, so I still think that’s likely. I’m just not making any announcements.
It looks like Masters of Sex has taken extreme liberties with the Tom Maier book. Does it bear any resemblance to the book, at all?
NEVINS: Yeah, it’s a serious drama. You’ve got Michael Sheen, who is a great dramatic actor. But, it’s also going to be fun and have wit to it. The fundamentals do come from the book. They have 20-plus years together, so the stuff of Thomas Maier’s book will continue to feed the series, for years to come.
NEVINS: It’s in the very early stages of development. On the one hand, it’s been talked about for many years. I’ve had many conversations with Ron about it, over the years. On the other hand, we don’t have a script yet. There’s a very interesting show to be done, that has genre elements, elements of supernatural and horror, and is really frightening, gruesome stuff about the sort of encounter between these two very different cultures, in a pre-modern time where magic and mysticism was at the core of the belief system of the Spanish Catholics and the Aztecs. It was a very advanced civilization, in a lot of ways, with mathematics and science, but also really brutal and violent. I think it’s got a mix. It’s a period show that no one has done, and I’m always looking for something that feels like fresh territory. One of the reasons I hate talking about it is because other people can get the idea, but it’s loaded with potential.
NEVINS: I’ll say that, going in, the original plan was for four seasons. We’ve greenlit Season 3. They’re shooting the first two episodes right now. I think the likely thing is still that there will be one more season, but I haven’t ordered Season 4, and who is to say that, after four seasons, we don’t try to do one more. But, we try to make these decisions about when to end the series from a creative point of view, so the creators have a big say in that.
What is the status of Episodes? Will that series continue?
NEVINS: We’re working on the details right now, but I’m expecting Episodes to come back. It’s irregular, as opposed to some of our other shows, and that’s mostly a function of how David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik like to make the show. I’m respectful of that fact. They’ve made an enormous amount of television. They like their shows to be handcrafted. They want to write every episode themselves. They want to edit them all themselves. So, we tend to be a little slower to get them on the air. But, my intention is to keep going.
NEVINS: I’ve read the final script, and I think it answers a lot of questions. It was very carefully planned. As for Mary-Louise, she’s great and can do all sorts of different things, so I would love to continue working with her. Ultimately, it’s about us creating a role that she really wants to play, but I think there’s absolutely the possibility for you to see Mary-Louise back on Showtime, after Weeds is gone.
How long do you see Homeland running for?
NEVINS: It’s a wide blue sky. I’m excited for Season 2, but I believe we’re still on the upswing with Homeland. They’ve made some very bold choices this year. By the end of the second episode, I think you’ll be like, “Holy shit!” By the third, you will understand what the trajectory of this season is going to be. We’re still opening the door on that one, not closing it.
How much longer do you see Californication going?
NEVINS: I’m honestly not sure. I think that the year that’s coming up is a great year for the show. It’s a great combination of comedy and soulfulness. It’s got two great season-long guest characters. We’re going to see. I’m going to put it on the air, and then we’re going to decide. But, I think they’ve got great stuff for this year.
NEVINS: I want to announce today that we’re moving ahead with the conclusion of The Big C, with a special limited-run series consisting of four one-hour installments. The show has always required a delicate touch, and I can’t think of three more talented and skillful people than Darlene Hunt, Jenny Bicks and the brilliant Laura Linney, to handle this tricky subject matter. From its inception, the show has been unique in its premise and tone, and I’m excited that we’ve come up with a unique and form-breaking way to bring a conclusion to Cathy’s story.
What made you decide to wrap up that show already?
NEVINS: I wouldn’t assume anything, as to how it’s going to end. We’ve been having a lot of really interesting creative conversations about how to do it, and I think it’s very important that shows be able to plan their end and do it the right way. We have a contract with our audience. The show began in the summer, and then Season 2 and 3 were spring and winter. And they have a very form-breaking way to handle where the show is going. I think it’s going to make for a really interesting season. I think the bigger picture is how these shows, like Weeds and Dexter, end. That needs to be planned. I got the privilege of planning the ending on Friday Night Lights with Jason [Katims], and we had two years to build up to it and do it the right way. It was actually the finale episode that [Jason] Katims won the Emmy Award for Best Writing. We don’t have to be like the broadcast networks that have to make split-second decisions and cut shows. I think that can be built in really nice, satisfying ways.