TCA: 'SNL's Pharoah, Killam Land Lead Roles on Showtime Series

Complete Coverage: TCA Summer 2016

UPDATED: Questions about why Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam departed Saturday Night Live earlier in the week may have been answered during Showtime’s TCA panel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Pharoah has the lead in Jamie Foxx’s White Famous, which is about “what it takes for an African American comedy star to become white famous,” said David Nevins, Showtime president and CEO.

White Famous is a co-production between Lionsgate Television and Showtime.

Taran Killam, meanwhile, was cast as the lead in Mating, about a recently divorced guy making his way in the single world. Jason Katims is an executive producer on that.

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Both shows are half hour comedies. Nevins said he was willing to work around both SNL cast members’ schedules, though that did not come to pass.

Despite the excitement around Roadies at launch, Nevins did not sound optimistic that it will be back for season two. “It’s gone according to vision,” he said. “I really like the show and feel like there are such incredible players on the show.”

He acknowledged that its upbeat tone represents a shift for Showtime, and for premium cable, but that it “hasn’t caught on big. We’re still evaluating what its future is.”

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Nevins was more bullish on Showtime’s SVOD efforts. “Twelve months in, we have over a million subscribers. With our [cable subscriber] base at an all-time high, it’s a win-win,” he said. “It’s material to our revenue now. It’s material to our earnings.”

Nevins says he does not think cable bundles are going away. “I am a big believer in bundling,” he said. “It’s a pain in the ass having 16 different apps.”

There is considerable excitement about Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival. Nevins said season one shooting is done, and David Lynch is deep into the editing process. The show debuts in 2017.

Related: Moonves Says CBS, Showtime Have 2 Million Total OTT Subs

“We were both instantly transported,” said Gary Levine, programming president. “These weren’t even cut scenes. The tone, the feel--it is so singular. We can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Showtime will bring back the quick turnaround political show The Circus for a fall season starting Sept. 11, while the limited series Guerrilla, about politically divided London in the ‘70s, and the Jonathan Franzen project Purity, are in the works. The latter has two seasons, in 2018 and 2019.

A documentary on Anthony Weiner called Weiner rolls Oct.22, while another, entitled Burn Motherfucker Burn, focuses on the Los Angeles riots.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.