Matt Blank to Step Down as Showtime CEO, Hands Torch to David Nevins

20-Year Vet Will Stay on as Chairman

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After a 20-year turn at the helm of Showtime, chairman and CEO Matt Blank is passing the torch to president David Nevins.

Showtime and parent company CBS Corp. today announced a transition plan that would see Mr. Blank hand over the CEO title on Jan. 1, 2016. He'll retain the chairmanship.

In his new role, Mr. Nevins will oversee all day-to-day business at Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix, a catch-all that includes development, acquisitions and marketing. In conjunction with the promotion, his contract has been extended through the end of 2018.

Mr. Nevins joined Showtime in 2010 as entertainment president. He'd previously served as president of Imagine Television, where he developed and executive produced a string of broadcast series, including: "Friday Night Lights," "Arrested Development" and "Parenthood."

Before signing on with Imagine in 2002, Mr. Nevins served as exec VP of programming at Fox. Among the series bearing his imprimatur were "Malcolm in the Middle," "24" and "The Bernie Mac Show." Prior to that post, he'd developed critically acclaimed dramas like "The West Wing," "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and "ER" for NBC.

'Masters of Sex', developed for Showtime under David Nevins
'Masters of Sex', developed for Showtime under David Nevins

Showtime recruited Mr. Nevins to spearhead its development after Bob Greenblatt departed in July 2010. Four months later, NBCUniversal announced that it had hired Mr. Greenblatt to run its flagship broadcast network.

CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves credited Mr. Blank for leading Showtime "through two decades of dramatic change and evolution in the industry," adding that the executive's "patience, energy and dedication were central to building Showtime into the powerhouse it is today."

Over the course of Mr. Blank's 20-year tenure, Showtime has nearly trebled its subscriber base, growing from 9 million homes to 23 million. The premium service has led CBS's cable networks division to seven consecutive years of double-digit EBITDA growth, and the unit this year is on track to take in a record $2.39 billion in revenue.

Mr. Moonves went on to characterize Mr. Nevins as "simply one of the most brilliant creative minds…and a great business manager as well."

Since Mr. Nevins began calling the programming shots, Showtime has ushered in a roster of swing-for-the-fences dramas such as "Homeland," "Masters of Sex," "Penny Dreadful" and "Ray Donovan." His comedic chops are represented by the likes of "Shameless," "House of Lies," "Happyish" and "Episodes," which yesterday was renewed for a fifth season.

Another feather in Mr. Nevins' cap: After some initial jostling over the budget, he managed to come to terms with "Twin Peaks" co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, ensuring a 2016 revival of the hugely popular ABC serial. ("Twin Peaks" bowed on April 8, 1990, to 34.6 million viewers.)

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