Showtime Boss On Half-Hour Comedy Strategy, Series Release Pattern Change

UPDATED: House Of Lies was one of the first two pilots David Nevins picked up after joining Showtime, along with Homeland. He went on to order both hourlong and half-hour pilots and series. But with veterans like Weeds and Californication going away, recent addition Happyish cancelled and a couple of half-hour pilots, including Crazy Ex Girlfriend, not going forward, House of Lies is now one of only two remaining half-hour series on the Showtime schedule, along with Episodes, whose upcoming fifth season is fully expected to be its last.

The new Cameron Crowe series Roadies, originally developed and ordered to pilot as a half-hour, was converted to one-hour at the pilot stage. “The hour shows just in general get viewed more, get streamed more, do better internationally,” Nevins said. “At one point we talked about doing a family show as a half hour, but we really felt like it’s best form is an hour and we had the real estate to do it.”

There were no half-hour pilots ordered by Showtime in 2015. While there definitely has been a pause in piloting and launching half-hour comedy series, that is temporary, Nevins said. Andrew Dice Clay’s six-episode semi-autobiographical series Dice is coming up, there are half-hour scripts in development, and there will be at least one pilot order in the next year, Nevins told Deadline.

Additionally, Showtime will be staggering its series premieres going forward. “We’ve been doing our premieres like Noah’s Ark, two by two,” Nevins said. Now premieres will be staggered.

The new pattern is being introduced this month with Shameless premiered last week, Billions this week, Dark Net next week, etc. Spacing out new series would allow new content to come on the air every month, he said.

As for House of Lies, Nevins made it clear that the series would not continue without co-star Kristen Bell. The comedy, whose fifth season was just scheduled, is yet to be renewed for a sixth season. Bell has signed on for new NBC comedy series  Good Place on the condition that she could continue on House of Lies. 

This article was printed from