‘Arrested Development’ Almost Went to Showtime, Network Chief David Nevins Reveals

“They were offering all the freedom that we didn’t have,” Showtime president says at Paley Center for Media

David Nevins
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Showtime president David Nevins embraces the fact that not everyone is going to enjoy changes to a TV show, calling television “a medium of imperfection.”

“If you want to be unpredictable, you have to be willing to piss some people off,” Nevins said at the  Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles on Thursday. “Television is such a medium of imperfection. You have to be willing to embrace the imperfection.”

The event saw Nevins look back on the early years of his career as a media executive. He revealed that his first dealings with Showtime came while he was still an executive at Fox.

Fox had produced three seasons of “Arrested Development” from 2003-2006, but low ratings had the network ready to dump the show. That’s when Showtime made what Nevins called a “really aggressive” play to pick up the now cult series.

“They were offering all the freedom that we didn’t have,” Nevins said. “‘You can do 10 episodes one season. You can do 12 episodes another season. You can do 23 minutes. You can do 29 minutes…’ And for a variety of reasons–largely deal-driven–it never quite came to be.”

Nevins also told the crowd that CBS president and CEO Les Moonves was largely responsible for pulling off the superfight between Floyd Mayweater and Manny Pacquiao, which aired simultaneously on Showtime and HBO.

“Floyd doesn’t like [Bob Arum], doesn’t like HBO, and Floyd was holding the cards” Nevins said. “It was really Les Moonves who made it happen. He really pushed and pushed. He used a lot of capital, a lot of time and energy to make it happen.”