Donald Trump’s true relationship with New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman will be plain to see when Showtime’s documentary about the paper of record airs later this May. Showtime Chief Executive David Nevins revealed that Liz Garbus’ doc The Fourth Estate, which follows the newspaper and its journalists as they cover the first year of the Trump Administration, will show the U.S. President on the phone with Haberman, who became the latest target of a Trump tweetstorm this weekend following a story about his legal issues.
The doc is just one of a number of political programs produced for the premium cable broadcaster, which is bringing back The Circus in April, as well Stephen Colbert-produced Our Cartoon President, which Nevins revealed is written on a Wednesday and recorded on a Thursday ahead of its Friday bow.
Nevins was speaking in Israel at the In-TV conference, organized by media firm Keshet. Asked how we dealt with the growing competition from the likes of Netflix, Nevins said that the SVOD services were “playing a slightly different game”.
“I have a theory; Netflix aren’t making $300M deals [with creators such as Ryan Murphy] because some day they expect to make $500M in revenue. They’re chasing a big announcement, the size of it is advantageous.”
He said creators don’t want to be the “600th show on the shelf”. “[Showtime’s] formula is make good choices and bets and create a great creative environment and give them support and nurturing. We tend to be hands on in a supportive way to help shows find their best self and we have a much more boutique style. Our shows are handcrafted and the way we market them is done on a much more one-off basis. You’re not dependent on the algorithm hopefully surfaces [the show].
Nevins also revealed that the return of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks “paid off” for the CBS-owned broadcaster, claiming that it “drove a lot of subscriptions” in addition to providing a “halo effect” for other creators. “There’s no one else in the world like David Lynch and the show had magic. It wasn’t just art, it was commerce as well,” he said.
Former Imagine television chief Nevins also used his keynote address to briefly discuss shows such as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Patrick Melrose, the Sky co-pro based on the Edward St. Aubyn novels, forthcoming Jim Carrey comedy Kidding, Escape At Dannemora, starring Benicio Del Toro, Paul Dano and Patricia Arquette, and its forthcoming pilot Black Monday, a stock market story starring Don Cheadle.