CBS Corp. has set a leadership transition at pay cable network Showtime, with long-time chairman and CEO Matthew Blank passing the CEO title and duties to network president David Nevins as of January 1, 2016. At that time, all Showtime senior management will begin reporting to Nevins. Blank, who has served as chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks since 1995, will continue in his role as chairman. He is expected to work on big-picture issues and strategy and represent the company on the NCTA board.

showtime4__140512213840“Matt Blank has led Showtime as its Chairman and CEO through two decades of dramatic change and evolution in the industry,” said CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves, to whom Blank reports. “His patience, energy and dedication were central to building Showtime into the powerhouse it is today. He is passing the CEO torch at a terrific time, with Showtime now poised for significant new growth over the Internet.”

Showtime’s new standalone online service launches in early July.

“One of the key attributes I look for in my leadership team is the capacity and willingness to bring up the next generation of management,” Moonves added. “It is a credit to Matt that we are now prepared to add the CEO duties to a talented executive like David Nevins, who is more than ready to take on this important role.”

The CEO title extends Nevins’ rise at Showtime with a second promotion in the less than five years since he joined the pay cable network as entertainment president in 2010. In conjunction with Nevins’ previous bump to president of Showtime Networks last year, his contract was extended through 2018. As president and CEO, Nevins will add to his current oversight of programming, sports, marketing, scheduling, research, digital and publicity as he takes over all operations, including business, legal, HR and finance. In his new role, Nevins will continue to report to Blank but while also reporting to Moonves.

“David is quite simply one of the most brilliant creative minds in our business today, and a great business manager as well, a combination that is both rare and incredibly valuable,” Moonves said. “In this world that is flooding with content, he is a peerless programmer whose work immediately rises to the top, be it in entertainment, in documentaries or in sports, all of which have blossomed under his leadership at Showtime.”

The passing of the baton is reminiscent of the orderly transition at A+E Networks where long-time president and CEO Abbe Raven in early 2013 handed over the titles to a rising young executive she helped nurture, Nancy Dubuc, while she segued to a chairman role which she held for about two years before retiring at the end of last year.

“I’m so proud of all the success at Showtime over the past few years,” Blank said. “One of the great joys of my career has been working with David Nevins. I know he’ll bring his great programming, business and leadership skills, as well as his passion for Showtime, to his new responsibilities.”

Nevins called Moonves and Blank “the kind of mentors you can only hope to find once in a lifetime,” adding that he looks forward to “Matt’s ongoing guidance and counsel as Chairman.”

This is the latest instance of CBS Corp reaching within for a new division head, joining Nina Tassler’s promotion to lead CBS when Nancy Tellem moved to an advisor role, Armando Nunez expanding his duties from head of international to overseeing the combined domestic syndication/international operations and David Stapf transitioning from head of current at CBS to president of CBS TV Studios.

Homeland SEason 5During Nevins’ tenure, Showtime has launched a string of successful series, including Homeland, Penny Dreadful, House Of Lies, Ray Donovan, Masters Of Sex and The Affair, and has built up its documentary slate. Before joining Showtime, Nevins served as president of Imagine Television, EVP of Programming at Fox and SVP, Primetime Series at NBC.

Blank has been with Showtime Networks since 1988, assuming the position of president and COO in 1991, followed by President and CEO, and then Chairman and CEO in 1995. Prior to that, he served as EVP, Marketing. Before joining Showtime Networks, Blank worked for HBO for 12 years.

Under Blank’s leadership, Showtime Networks has grown from three premium networks – Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix — to 27 digital channels. Showtime also has been an early adopter of the latest technologies, such as high definition and subscription video on demand. Blank is expected to continue to be involved in the network’s distribution strategy, an area he has shepherded for decades.