Network president/CEO David Nevins expects to see a tremendous surge in sign-ups for Showtime’s streaming service come May 21, when “Twin Peaks” premieres, and hopes to capitalize on that interest.
Showtime is expected to see its over-the-top service explode that day, given that episodes 3 and 4 will be available on the service the same day as the show’s two-hour linear premiere. Beyond that, the show will roll out in a traditional weekly fashion.
“More or less it will be once a week,” he said. “We’re not breaking it into two seasons. David really believes in the drip of weekly television.”
He also believes in keeping the show hush-hush – so much that a proper “Twin Peaks” trailer probably won’t be released before premiere. “You’ll see film pieces come out, but they may not be a traditional trailer,” Nevins said. “And they definitely won’t be trailers that give away plot points which is traditional to do with film launches.” (Nevins said rumors that “Twin Peaks” might premiere at Sundance were misguided.)
Asked to elaborate about the episodes, Nevins would only say “the core of it is Agent Cooper’s odyssey back to Twin Peaks.” He said he believed fans would be satisfied with the revival.
“This version of ‘Twin Peaks’ is the ‘pure heroin’ version of David Lynch, and I’m very excited to be putting that out,” Nevins said. He and programming president Gary Levine have already watched all 18 episodes of the new show (and said Lynch provided donuts and coffee before each screening).
“It will reward close watching,” Nevins said. He also admitted that “expectations are high,” given the amount of secrecy around the show, “but it is what it is. I feel very confident in what David has done.”
The show is, for now at least, is designed to be a “close-ended, one-time event.”
“The trick,” Nevins added, will be turning new Showtime users there for “Twin Peaks” into “long-term Showtime subscribers.”
That includes using “Twin Peaks” as a launching pad to premiere new series “I’m Dying Out Here.” The period drama, which recounts the 1970s Los Angeles comedy scene, launches Sunday, June 4 at 10 p.m.
Also on Monday at Showtime’s portion of the Television Critics Association press tour, Nevins commented on the recent salary negotiations with “Shameless” star Emmy Rossum, who was reportedly looking for a pay bump bringing her either within parity, or more, with co-star William H. Macy.
“To be clear, it felt like parity was very justified in this case,” he said. “We’ve been advocating it from the beginning. [The resolution was] great for her, great for us. Emmy has been a force for that show in a great way, what she does in front and also behind the camera. I think it was a good process.”
Calling 2016 “a defining year for Showtime,” Nevins said the network’s streaming service saw its biggest sign-up day ever on Election Day, thanks to Showtime’s Stephen Colbert special. He expects to break that record this weekend with the return of “Homeland,” and again in May with “Twin Peaks.”
Speaking of “Homeland,” Levine said this season – even though it was written last summer – focuses on one of the hot topics of the moment: issues of trust and distrust between the intelligence community and a new presidential leader.
“The prescience of [executive producer] Alex Gansa [is] remarkable,” he said.
Series ordered by Showtime include “The Chi” and “White Famous.”
“The Chi,” from creator and executive producer Lena Waithe (“Master of None”), is a coming-of-age tale set in Chicago’s South Side. Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”) has been cast as Brandon, “an ambitious and confident young man who dreams about opening a restaurant of his own someday, but is conflicted between the promise of a new life and his responsibility to his mother and teenage brother back in the South Side.”
Common, showrunner Elwood Reid, Aaron Kaplan and director Rick Famuyiwa are also executive producers.
“White Famous” stars Jay Pharoah as a comedian looking to cross over, based on the early career of Jamie Foxx. Foxx will recur on the show and executive produce with showrunner Tom Kapinos (“Californication”). Megalyn Echikunwoke, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jacob Ming-Trent and Lonnie Chavis also star.