CBS Corp. has elevated Showtime chief David Nevins to an expanded role — chief creative officer for the entire company — in recognition that the sudden departure of former Chief Executive Leslie Moonves left a major gap in management for the company’s Hollywood operations.
Nevins will retain his role as chief executive of Showtime, the premium channel that has prospered under his leadership with such shows as “Shameless,” “Homeland,” “Billions,” “Ray Donovan,” and “The Affair.”
The appointment, announced Thursday by CBS acting CEO Joseph Ianniello, is immediate. In the newly created position, Nevins will continue to be based in Los Angeles and assume responsibility for programming, marketing and research across CBS television studios, the CBS Television network’s entertainment division, and Showtime networks. He will also be responsible for programming for the CBS All Access streaming service.
Nevins, 52, also will also oversee CBS’ 50% stake in the CW television network, the company’s joint venture with Warner Bros. Entertainment. And he received the title of chairman of Showtime Networks, which includes the Smithsonian Network.
Julie McNamara (CBS All Access), David Stapf (CBS television studios), Kelly Kahl (CBS Entertainment), George Schweitzer (marketing) and Radha Subramanyam (research) will continue in their leadership roles in these respective areas, CBS said in a statement.
Moonves was forced to resign in early September amid a growing sexual harassment scandal. CBS’ board tapped his chief deputy, Ianniello, as president and acting CEO of the company, but his background is in finance and management. Though known to Wall Street, Ianniello lacks a profile in Los Angeles, where the bulk of CBS’ programming operations are based. In contrast, Moonves got his start in TV production. After turning around the CBS network, he became larger-than-life in entertainment circles and heavily involved in programming decisions.
CBS’ board recognized that it needed to install a leader with gravitas in L.A., said three people close to the situation who were not authorized to comment. Last month, CBS’ board said it would conduct a search for a CEO.
Nevins, an Emmy-winning television producer, is well respected. He has diversified and expanded Showtime’s slate of original productions, which have helped to increase subscriptions for the channel, and bulked up Showtime Sports, which has become an industry leader in boxing. He has pushed in political genre with shows such as “The Circus.” Nevins also was an early champion of Showtime’s nascent streaming service, which now has more than 2 million subscribers.
Before joining Showtime in 2010, Nevins ran Imagine Television for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, producing such prominent shows as “24,” “Arrested Development” and “Friday Night Lights.” Prior to Imagine, Nevins was a programming executive at Fox Broadcasting, and before that, NBC.
“David has a brilliant creative mind and an impressive track record of success at Showtime and in the entertainment industry,” Ianniello said in a statement. “He is a forward-thinking leader who has driven programming excellence and subscriber growth for the cable network and its growing over-the-top service.”
Nevins is a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Andrea, and their three children.
CBS separately said that it had appointed Christina Spade as executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective immediately. She previously served as CFO and head of strategy for the Showtime Networks since 2013.