The long-awaited new installment of Twin Peaks on Showtime was billed as a limited-run event. But that has not stopped fans from asking about another season. The networks’ CEO David Nevins and president Gary Levine fielded some of these questions during the network’s portion of the winter TCA press tour.
Nevins said that there have been no conversations with co-creator/director David Lynch about more episodes. Levine reminded everyone that it took 25 years after the first two seasons for the third one to come about. And noted the herculean effort by Lynch in the past two years to write, direct, act in, edit and score 18 consecutive hours of television. But while Lynch may not be ready to return to TV right away, “the door at Showtime is always open for him to do more Twin Peaks or anything else,” Levine said.
While Twin Peaks was a big driver for subscriptions to Showtime’s online streaming application, the dropoff after the end of the show has been within the norm, in line with other popular series, Nevins said.
In announcing a Season 2 premiere date for I’m Dying Up Here, Nevins said that the series will be undergoing changes after the renewal came following a slew of meetings with the show’s producers examining what worked in the first season and what didn’t. There will be “new urgency and deeper relationships,” he said.
Asked what worked and what didn’t, Nevins noted that “the show showed steady growth creatively and ratings-wise” throughout its freshman season, ending the year 30% higher than the premiere. The comedy-drama about the Los Angeles comedy scene in the 1970s, which couldn’t attract a wide audience, may have been hampered by having as a lead-in Twin Peaks, whose viewing was done largely online, not on the network, Nevins suggested.
As for Season 2, “We are excited about where it’s going creatively,” Levine said. “There is untapped potential, an amazing alchemy of turning pain into comedy. Melissa Leo and Ari Graynor will have deep and heart-wrenching emotional stories.”
Despite being set in the 1970s, the series will tackle relevant topics like indecency, gender and race,” Levine said.
Showtime also today announced a June 17 Season 4 premiere date for The Affair, Asked about the densely serialized series’ future beyond that, Nevins said he expects it to go for one more season after that. “It looks like a five-year show,” he said.
Meanwhile, the sky (and budget) seems to be the limit for dramedy Shameless, which, in its eight season, is still Showtiome’s most watched show and a major subscribtion driver. Nevins said that the network has an arrangement for one more season. Beyond that, if the financials can be worked out (Shameless is produced by Warner Bros.), he would like for the series to keep going.
In the fourth quarter, Showtime debuted two new comedies, White Famous, which had well known talent in front of and behind the camera, and SMILF, created by and starring up-and-comer Frankie Shaw. The latter was a breakout hit and was renewed for a second season while White Famous was recently canceled.
“Voice matter,” Nevins said when asked why he thinks one series worked and the other didn’t.
On White Famous, “there were things that worked but ultimately we concluded that it was a show that was not moving the needle and was not going to move the needle in future; it was not on the right trajectory,” Nevins said about the cancellation decision.