Former Paramount Head David Nevins Named CEO of The North Road Company

“I believe I have the best collection of executives and producers that exist in the industry,” Peter Chernin, the production house’s founder, tells TheWrap

David Nevins and Peter Chernin
David Nevins and Peter Chernin (Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Six months after stepping down as chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group and chief creative officer of Paramount+ Scripted Series at the end of last year, David Nevins has been named CEO of The North Road Company.

Peter Chernin, who launched the global content studio in July 2022, announced on Thursday that Nevins will, effective immediately, oversee the studio’s expanding portfolio as Chernin continues in his role as executive chairman. Nevins will work closely with North Road’s executive team including Jenno Topping, Jan Frouman, Chris Coelen, Connor Schell and Darian Singer. 

“Under any measurement as a creative company, with multiple genres and multiple territories with multiple partners, David is one of the highest-quality executives,” Chernin told TheWrap of the hire. “I’m thrilled that he decided to leave Showtime and Paramount and join up with North Road.”

Since launching just under a year ago, North Road has purchased Karga Seven Pictures, a major entertainment studio in Turkey, and took a stake in Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The studio has also received $150 million from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), alongside the prelaunch funding of up to $500 million from Providence Equity Partners and $300 million in debt financing from Apollo.  

When asked why he was optimistic that North Road could stand out to distributors from a crowd of well-funded content production studios, Chernin offered two reasons for hope.

“I believe I have the best collection of executives and producers that exist in the industry,” he said. “The platforms are going to want to partner with people with a track record of quality and people they trust. They don’t just want people to sell them stuff. They want real partners who provide high-quality content amid multiple genres and multiple territories.” 

He later added, “I want [North Road] be the most successful privately-backed independent company in the entertainment industry.”

At Paramount, Nevins was responsible for all aspects of Showtime Networks, plus scripted original dramas and comedies for the Paramount+ streaming service. He also oversaw BET and Paramount Television Studios, and prior to that, he oversaw CBS Entertainment. Under Nevins’ leadership of Showtime, first as president of entertainment and later as chairman and CEO, the company earned 244 Emmy nominations, launched a standalone streaming service and produced acclaimed original series including “Homeland,” “Billions,” “Yellowjackets,” “Dexter: New Blood,” “Your Honor,” “The Chi,” “Twin Peaks: The Return,” “Ray Donovan,” “Shameless,” “The Affair,” “The Circus” and Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?”

Nevins previously served as president of Imagine Television, winning an Emmy Award for “Arrested Development” and executive producing buzzy hits like “24″ (the 2001-2010 run and the single-season relaunches in 2014 and 2017), “Friday Night Lights” and the 15-seasons-and-counting “Curious George” show alongside both the single-season 1990 adaptation and the six-season 2010 version of “Parenthood.” 

When asked about the challenges of crafting buzzy, must-watch TV hits in a more crowded and cutthroat streaming environment, Nevins told TheWrap, simply, “You got to be good.” He further noted, “As challenged as business models are, the audience is there, the appetite is there. If you produce excellence, it’s still likely to get recognized.”

Nevins was senior VP of primetime programming at NBC during the “must-see TV era,” which included not just blowout hits like “ER,” but also the low-rated but critically acclaimed seven-year run of “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Asked about his track record of nurturing a lower-rated gem as it slowly found its audience, he referenced recent TV sensations “The Bear” and “Yellowjackets” as examples of shows that evolved from mostly being celebrated online or in the industry to becoming mainstream successes. “Smart writers writing about your show helps more people find it,” he said.

North Road properties include Topping’s scripted film and TV studio Chernin Entertainment, which was behind theatrical hits like the “Planet of the Apes” reboot trilogy, “Spy,” “The Greatest Showman” (a property that Chernin stated may have some life left in it even after the Disney/Fox merger) and “Ford v. Ferrari.” Chernin Entertainment’s television successes include “New Girl” and “Luthor.”

The studio’s properties also include Coelen’s unscripted studio Kinetic Content, which was responsible for “Love Is Blind,” “The Ultimatum” and “Married at First Sight. Schell’s Words + Pictures handled “30 for 30,” “The Last Dance” and the Oscar-winning “O.J.: Made in America.”  

There are currently 85 active productions in the works, including the Jamie Foxx/Cameron Diaz Netflix comedy “Back in Action,” a Jason Momoa-starring historical drama “Chief of War” for Apple TV+ and an HBO documentary about Barry Bonds.