Pasadena, Calif. — Showtime Networks president and CEO David Nevins opened up about the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Mark Halperin, a political reporter who co-hosted season one of Showtime’s The Circus.
“It was very difficult to be kind of blindsided like that and once it became clear, I think we decided very quickly that it would be best for the show to go on without him,” said Nevins Saturday during the network’s 2018 TCA winter press tour.
Halperin will be replaced in season two with Alex Wagner, who will co-host the political show with John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon. Both Heilemann and McKinnon worked on the first season.
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Nevins added later in the session that he knew early on that something with the show, which in season one was hosted by three white men, was amiss.
The network topper was joined on stage by Gary Levine, Showtime’s president of programming.
Levine fielded a question about Twin Peaks, which he worked on first in the show’s original run on ABC and then most recently during its return on Showtime.
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“We’re thrilled we did Twin Peaks…The work was extraordinary,” he said. “The fan reaction was extraordinary and it was incredibly good for our brand and our network.”
But despite Levine’s enthusiasm, another season of the cult classic is not likely any time soon, explaining that it took Mark Frost and David Lynch 25 years to bring the show back.
“What David did in the last few years, was just nothing short of Herculean,” said Levine. Lynch directed all 18 episodes of the show as well as writing, starring and editing the series.
Levine added, though, that Frost and Lynch are always welcome at the network.
“The door at Showtime is always open to Mark and to David for Twin Peaks or anything else they want to talk about,” he said.
Other highlights from the panel included:
—The TV landscape is getting more and more crowded and some companies are spending more and more on programming. While Showtime is also spending more, it’s not because of the competition, said Nevins. “Yes, we’re spending more money, but it’s mostly a function of the fact that business is flourishing and CBS, the corporation CBS, wants to invest in Showtime,” he said.
—On the music of Showtime's adaptation of The Kingkiller Chronicle, Levine said “I have three words for the style of the music: Lin-Manuel Miranda.”
—Levine addressed the decision to bring I’m Dying Up Here back for a second season despite freshman run bumps. “Creatively, we are excited about where it is going,” he said. “We still think that there’s just an amazing alchemy that happens the way comedians can translate pain into comedy.”
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