Showtime Chief David Nevins Talks Emmys, ‘Revitalized’ ‘Dexter’

"Dexter" is "on a pretty ferocious path," Nevins says

"Homeland" made a breakthrough with Thursday's Emmy nominations, and Showtime entertainment president David Nevins says his network has more good news to come.

The domestic terror drama was the only new show to enter the Outstanding Drama Series category. (The other new entry in the category, "Downton Abbey," competed previously as a miniseries.)

It scored a lead actor nod for Damien Lewis and lead actress nomination for Claire Danes, making it the only drama besides Emmy-magnet "Mad Men" to land nods for its male and female leads.

Showtime also earned a nomination in each of the lead acting categories — the only network to do so — and five nods in the lead acting categories, the most of any network. Besides Lewis and Danes, Don Cheadle was nominated for lead comedy actor for "House Of Lies," past winner Edie Falco is up for best comedic actress for "Nurse Jackie," and "Dexter" star Michael C. Hall (above) is competing with Lewis for best dramatic actor.

But there were drawbacks for Showtime in Thursday's nominations: While "Homeland" joined the best drama competition, "Dexter" was dropped from the category. Showtime also remains far behind its premium cable competition HBO, which scored 81 nominations to Showtime's 22. Still, Showtime narrowed the gap from last year, when it had 21 nominations and HBO had 104.

Also read: Rupert Friend Joins 'Homeland' for Season 2

We talked briefly with Nevins about the Emmys, why he thinks the network will have more actors in competition next year, and a "revitalized" upcoming season of "Dexter."

TheWrap: Congratulations. Do the nominations today reflect a particular strategy for Showtime paying off?
Nevins: Thank you. The strategy is simple: to make great television that's provocative and not boring. There's no grand strategy beyond that. … "Homeland" is a show that's very personal to me. It feels like we've really broken through. It's great to be recognized in all the big categories.

Were you surprised by Don Cheadle's nomination? 
I was hoping for Don Cheadle. That was the big one. I wasn't really surprised. I kind of looked at that category and thought he had a real shot.

How much do nominations help you?
It's important for these first year shows. We're in 21 percent of the homes in the country. It's hard to get our younger shows noticed. … We build from here. "Homeland" and "House of Lies" are going to be mainstays for the foreseeable future for this network.

And we've got two new shows we're really excited about, "Masters of Sex" and "Ray Donovan." We're about great acting and great writing, and creating roles for actors. Maybe you'll see ["Ray Donovan" leads] Liev Schreiber or Jon Voight or ["Masters of Sex" leads] Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan getting nominations.

Was it bittersweet to have "Homeland" make it into the Outstanding Drama Series race only to have "Dexter" exit the category?
"The great thing was that Michael C. Hall still gets nominated among the six best actors on television. … The upcoming season the show is I think completely revitalized. I expect it's going to rock some people when it comes out in the fall. The next two seasons of "Dexter," it's on a pretty ferocious path.