Back at TCA’s winter press tour, I sat down with Showtime Networks President David Nevins for an Adweek Q&A that I banked for April, closer to when his spring shows — particularly Showtime’s new comedy, Happyish — were premiering. As April approached, I made arrangements for a quick followup interview with Nevins, to update a few topics we had discussed, including Showtime’s OTT plans.
It’s either a negotiation, or he’s had cold feet. But I am hopeful.
In addition to our Twin Peaks talk, Nevins also gave me a timetable on when Showtime will launch its standalone streaming service, talked about sticking with Happyish after last year’s death of original star Philip Seymour Hoffman and explained why he’ll never leave for a broadcast job like his predecessor, Robert Greenblatt. It’s a great, and unexpectedly newsy, interview; check it out!
As reporters covering TCA winter press tour, we don’t clap or cheer for the panelists (which often confuses those who are used to being showered with applause when they walk on stage for a large audience), but I was sure tempted to break that rule when Kyle MacLachlan came out dressed as Agent Dale Cooper to announce that he had signed on to Showtime’s upcoming revival of Twin Peaks.
Now that the deal is clinched, Nevins says his job boils down to “more or less, writing checks and leaving them alone. It’s David’s show, it’s Mark’s show, I will be the grateful recipient of it,” he said. “I will say that they have been very specific in promising closure, and that’s exciting. … From what I’ve seen, this is going to live up to expectations and then some.”
Production will begin later this year, and while locations haven’t been finalized, “I hope to go back to Washington,” where the series was shot, said Nevins.
Read the rest of the story for much more on how Nevins sealed the deal with Lynch, and why Twin Peaks represents an anomaly for Showtime.
This year, instead of making resolutions for the entire industry to follow, I created specific ones for the industry’s major players. For example, for Hulu:
Hulu: Don’t get left in the dust by Netflix and Amazon
In 2014, Hulu made some big moves to try and stay in the race with Netflix and Amazon, including an $80 million-plus deal acquiring the rights to all seasons of South Park and ordering three new series produced by the likes of J.J. Abrams, Jason Reitman and Amy Poehler. But those new shows, and South Park, need to deliver, and make Hulu a worthy streaming competitior. Oh, and Hulu, you know how you’ve been considering cutting back the number of ads running on Hulu Plus? Do that. Immediately.
I hope my 2015 resolutions fare as well as the 2014 ones did!
I unexpectedly had a terrific chat with Lisa Kudrow during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, and turned that into this Adweek profile about The Comeback’s return on Sunday, nine years after HBO canceled it. She talked with me about playing both sides of the HBO/Showtime rivalry, reviving The Comeback, how her guest-appearance on Scandal last season helped make it happen and what’s next for Valerie Cherish.
While I’ve been on Squawk Alley several times, they’ve always been remote appearances from CNBC’s Englewood Cliffs, N.J. office. This morning, I finally made my way to the New York Stock Exchange for my first in-studio appearance, where I talked about my recent Quartz story about why the best shows air on Sundays.
Here’s a clip from my segment:
Thankfully, they didn’t include the portion where my earpiece shorted out, just as I was being asked a question by someone remotely. Oh, the fun of live TV!
It’s happening, again! Showtime announced it is reviving Twin Peaks as a nine-episode limited series, airing in 2016. While many people spoke with co-creator Mark Frost about how his and David Lynch’s decision to return to the show, I took a different approach, talking with Showtime execs for this Quartz story about why this made sense for the network.
“In some ways, Twin Peaks was the precursor to all of the high-quality, provocative serialized drama that we all do now,” Gary Levine, Showtime’s executive vice president of original programming, told Quartz. “So to go back to the OG of provocative, serialized drama seemed like a no-brainer. Twin Peaks always did and always will define cool, and that was just too tempting to turn away from.”
There’s lots more from Levine and Showtime Networks President David Nevins about how they’ll avoid the train wreck that was Season 2, how much they know about the new season and whether there could be more stories to tell beyond those nine episodes.
Shortly after I left People, my friend Mitra Kalita reached out to me about contributing to Quartz, Atlantic Media’s global business site, where she works as Ideas Editor. After 16 years at People, it took me a some time to wrap my brain around how to write about TV for Quartz’s readers. But today I made my Quartz debut, with this take on last night’s Emmys, and how Netflix was one of the night’s biggest winners, even though it didn’t take home many trophies:
No, the political drama didn’t receive best drama or best actor for star Kevin Spacey, as many had predicted. But the awards it did win—best director for David Fincher, and two other technical awards (for casting and cinematography) at last week’s Creative Arts Emmy ceremony—legitimized the streaming video service in the same way that early Emmy wins once did for then-interlopers HBO, AMC and FX.
I really enjoyed the challenge of thinking about TV — and an event covered by hundreds of outlets and watched by millions — in a unique way, and I look forward to doing a lot of this kind of writing for Quartz in the days and weeks to come!