David Nevins Out at Paramount Global

Longtime Paramount Global exec David Nevins is exiting the company, Variety has learned.

Sources say Nevins, who currently serves as the chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group (which included Showtime) and chief creative officer of Paramount+ scripted series, is stepping down from his post just over a year after being named to the expanded role.

Nevins will officially depart at the end of the year. As part of the shakeup, Showtime Networks will now fall under Chris McCarthy and his Paramount Media Networks oversight. Showtime’s digital OTT operation now moves to Paramount Streaming, under Tom Ryan, while BET and Paramount Television Studios will now report to George Cheeks, the president and CEO of CBS who already oversaw news and sports at Paramount+ as chief content officer.

“This change has also given us the opportunity to more closely align our studios, networks and streaming operations as we execute on our vision and strategy for the future,” Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said in a memo to staffers. “To that end, we have made additional adjustments to our leadership structure.”

Insiders said Nevins — a tenured network exec and producer — no longer felt like he had a place in the company as it continued to evolve its structure. In recent months, one insider said there was a sense that Nevins might depart, given the sense that there were “too many cooks” inside the company. There was also a sense that besides “Yellowjackets,” Showtime had been struggling to maintain relevancy in a crowded field of programmers. And there’s also the ongoing talk of Showtime being absorbed inside Paramount+; Nevins’ exit will likely add to that chatter.

“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,” Nevins said in a note to staff which was obtained by Variety Thursday. “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.”

Nevins joined Showtime in 2010 as entertainment president, following a long run as the head of Imagine Television. Most recently, he served as chief content officer, scripted originals, Paramount Plus and chairman/CEO, Showtime Networks — part of a new structure inside Paramount Global that was finalized in September 2021. That put Nevins in charge of scripted originals for Paramount Plus as well as all aspects of Showtime Networks and its channels, along with BET. Nevins also served as chief creative officer of CBS for a period of time following Leslie Mooves’ exit and before Cheeks’ arrival.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news that Nevins was exiting Paramount Global.

See Nevins’ note to staff in full below.

Dear Team,

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.

David

And here is Bakish’s note to staff:

Team,

Today, we are announcing that David Nevins, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group and Chief Creative Officer of Paramount+ Scripted Series, has decided to step down from Paramount at the end of the year. Below, I’m sharing David’s note about the news, which he sent to the Showtime team earlier today. 

During his decade-plus tenure with our company, David has been the driving force behind Showtime, transforming it into the cultural powerhouse and iconic brand that it is today. He has greenlit and developed some of Showtime’s most acclaimed and popular shows—from beloved favorites “Billions” and “Shameless,” to more recent hits like “Your Honor” and “Yellowjackets.” Indeed, the numbers speak for themselves: since David joined the network in 2010, Showtime has earned a whopping 244 Emmy nominations—and an impressive 33 wins. 

As we have seen, 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. 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. 

In all these ways, David has contributed to the momentum that will continue to drive us forward. I’m so grateful he will stay with us through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition. 

At the same time, this change has also given us the opportunity to more closely align our studios, networks and streaming operations as we execute on our vision and strategy for the future. To that end, we have made additional adjustments to our leadership structure, which we shared with the Showtime team earlier: 

  • Showtime Networks will move into Paramount Media Networks, under the leadership of Chris McCarthy. 
  • Showtime’s OTT teams will move into Paramount Streaming, reporting to Tom Ryan.
  • BET will now move under George Cheeks’ group, as will Paramount Television Studios, where it will continue to operate as a studio alongside CBS Studios. 

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.

As we begin this new chapter, I want to once again thank David for his invaluable contributions to our company. I also want to recognize our amazing teams at Showtime, BET and Paramount Television Studios, who continue to produce so many influential series for our fans. I am so proud of the excellence you embody, every single day—and I am so excited for all that’s to come. 

Best,

Bob

At Showtime, Nevins’ early accomplishments included greenlighting “Homeland,” which went on to win the Emmy for outstanding drama series and serve as a signature program for the pay cabler. Other series under his watch include “The Affair,” “Billions,” “Ray Donovan,” “The Chi,” “The Good Lord Bird,” “Your Honor,” “Yellowjackets” and the “Twin Peaks” revival. The network also embraced combat sports including Bellator MMA.

At Imagine, Nevins was behind “24,” “Arrested Development,” “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights.” And before that, he served as exec VP of programming at Fox and senior VP of primetime series at NBC.

(Michael Schneider contributed to this report.)

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