For David Nevins, the choice to step down as CEO of luxury conglomerate Paramount Global and the Paramount+ scripted series has come a long way. The CEO, who replaced Bob Greenblatt as Showtime president 12 years ago, has seen his role grow and develop during his first starting term at CBS Corp. and later merged with ViacomCBS, eventually becoming Paramount Global.
“I was thinking about [leaving] for a while,” said Nevins CHEAP on Thursday afternoon. “Feeling as good as always. If I’m going to change, I want to do it while I’m at my peak. I think the industry is transforming in many exciting ways and exciting possibilities. I feel like the businesses I run are doing well. I want to make it clear that it is my own choice and decision and not a random decision. I want to help with this transition so I will continue until the end of the year. I’m running the business well and there’s a lot of exciting shows coming up in the coming year. Twelve years is a long time.”
Sources say the main factor leading to the respected director’s decision to leave is the current structure of Paramount Global. With streaming service Paramount+ a priority at the company, Bakish’s structure gave everyone a seat at the table with Nevins, Nickelodeon and Paramount film heads Brian Robbins and George Cheeks (news and sports) There are chairs at the table.
“Bob wants everyone involved, and Paramount+ is the business of the whole company. And that’s not how Nevins likes to make decisions,” said a source with knowledge of the company’s inner workings.
Other sources noted that Nevins’ frustration began in early 2020 when instead of promoting him to the top role, NBCUniversal Cheeks’ rising chief executive was hired out of Comcast to lead ViacomCBS recently merged. At the time, Nevins had been serving as the creative director of CBS Corp for two years. and has seen himself as the next to replace Les Moonves. Cheeks, who before joining NBC served as executive director of business affairs at Viacom, officially replaced acting CEO Joe Ianniello on January 31.
“David had Showtime, then got a bigger job under Les and thought he was the right fit for the big job,” a senior agency source said. “Unfortunately for him, the job wasn’t just what Les was doing but what Joe was doing and they didn’t see David ready for that job and that’s where things fell apart.”
Bakish – like other media executives – has reorganized its executive ranks to better prioritize streaming as the pandemic has taken a financial toll on corporations including Paramount, Disney and Comcast, among others. In mid-2021, before CBS All Access was renamed Paramount+, Nevins was promoted along with Paramount TV Studios president Nicole Clemens, media network/unscripted directors Chris McCarthy, and Nickelodeon’s Brian Robbins. . Nevins at the time was trading in the custody of CBS – where he delivered Dick Wolf FBI franchise and breakthrough success Ghosts, among others – for scripted originals at Paramount+. A few months later, Nevins added supervision of Clemens’ Paramount Television Studios to his purview when Robbins added supervision of Paramount Studios. With the addition of Paramount’s TV business, Nevins now has oversight of the Showtime premium cable network Scott Mills’ BET as well as original content produced for streamer Paramount+, with Clemens currently reporting to him. .
“It was a pretty long struggle over what is the role of each guy? Obviously David’s role was downsized and he decided that was enough,” a Paramount source said.
When asked, Nevins declined to comment on Paramount’s structure and only praised Bakish and Shari Redstone.
“Bob and Shari have given me a lot of opportunities and responsibilities and that makes my life interesting. I didn’t think I would go back to a broadcast network, and I had to do some cool shows at CBS and leave some interesting shows at CBS,” Nevins said. “I have good opportunities to do things and experience in interesting ways. I love the people I work with and get nothing but respect and opportunity from Shari and Bob. ”
With all the regulatory changes taking place as media companies shift their focus to streaming, the once standard linear structure is a thing of the past. Disney, for example, has empowered its TV studio chief on content because ABC and Hulu now share a creative executive. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal has two executives who share business and creative duties for its cable networks portfolio as well as NBC and streamer Peacock.
“Paramount created this multi-headed monster and it won’t survive,” said a top dealer source with business at the company. “David wasn’t happy and they weren’t happy either.”
As for what’s next, Showtime will become part of McCarthy’s Paramount Media Networks team as the executive now oversees all of Paramount’s linear networks saved for BET. As the resources devoted to linear continued to dry up, Comedy Central had almost completely exited the scripted business in favor of realistic and adult animation. Almost immediately after Nevins announced his departure, a new wave of anxiety seemed to engulf the creative community. “Nevins has reassured everyone that Paramount is still an entertainment company,” said another company insider. Nevins ranks as Paramount’s top creative executive. In addition to McCarthy, responsibility for Nevins is also split between Paramount streaming chief executive Tom Ryan (Showtime’s OTT) and sports and news boss Cheeks (BET, Paramount TV).
“My message to the creative community is, give it a chance,” says Nevins. “Showtime has a lot of strong executives and I think it’s a necessary and important brand for this company for a streaming future, and the shows that Showtime does really help propel Paramount+ around the world. We just had a successful Sky Showtime launch in Europe and it will soon be rolling out across the rest of Europe. Showtime is important to this company and will continue to be. There are a lot of good people who will be given the responsibility. ”
On what’s next, former executive at NBC and Fox and producer at Imagine TV (Friday night lights) opens to a multitude of possibilities that exist in today’s rapidly changing entertainment landscape.
“I did a lot of different things. I’ve been head of network, producer, head of streaming; I’ve worked in all different areas of the business and I’ve been on set. I even paid a fee to the Writers Guild – but that was when I didn’t know anything from the very beginning. I value diversity of experience and I am a curious person. I don’t know that it’s obvious what I have to do next. There are so many different directions I could go and I want to open up all the possibilities. I don’t think in a narrow sense what my next move in Hollywood would be, maybe to Culver City [where Amazon and Sony are housed] or to the Burbank corridor [Disney, Warners, Comcast]. That’s how I approach the world now.”