With his big decision to leave Showtime behind him, the network’s entertainment president for the past 7 years Robert Greenblatt sounded relaxed in a phone interview today, hours after the network officially announced David Nevins as his successor. “I had been wrestling with [the issue] for the last couple of months until I came to the decision that it was the time to move on,” he said. And no, the decision was not prompted by a new job offer, supposedly from Comcast at post-merger NBC. “I don’t have any specific plans, I’m not in negotiations on anything, and I don’t have anything lined up,” he said.
Greenblatt acknowledged that he, too, has heard the rumors about him possibly going to NBC but stressed that they are just that — rumors. He maintains he has not talked to anyone at the broadcast network or its future parent Comcast about a job at post-merger NBC and that NBC has already put in place a large new primetime slate in an effort to turn its fortunes around. As for ABC, another broadcast network that has suffered a ratings downslide, prompting speculations about potential executive changes, Greenblatt said that he received a “generous” email from his long-time friend, ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, who invited him to discuss opportunities there.
Greenblatt is not taking an extended time off, again supposedly a 5 to 6 month vacation as some have speculated. After signing off from Showtime at end of July, he will do a little traveling and may consult. But he also will be checking regularly his email and voice mail. “I’m going to see what comes my way, who wants to talk to me.”
There is one thing he is in not particularly interested in – returning to producing where he was successful with the Greenblatt Janollari Studio. “Producing is a lonely, difficult work, and I’m not sure that’s where I’m headed. I’m leaning more towards an executive job at the moment.” As for the kind of executive job that would appeal to him, “it’s all about innovating, building or rebuilding something,” he said. “I don’t feel like walking into a place that needs a new head. It needs to be a place where I have to rethink the whole system; I’m very entrepreneurial.”
Greenblatt, who was a broadcast TV executive at Fox before becoming a producer, is also considering taking on the one area he hasn’t tackled, features. “There is no greater uphill battle than the feature world right now, and, as an avid filmgoer, I feel there is something I can bring, an emphasis on pure storytelling which is sorely lacking.” How big of a movie buff is Greenblatt? He was preparing to go the Twilight Saga Eclipse premiere when the news of his departure from Showtime broke last week. He went to see the movie anyway.