Paramount’s David Nevins on ‘Yellowjackets’ Sleeper Success, Developing for Global Markets and Desus & Mero’s ‘Eventual Reunion’

Yellowjackets” emerged as a sleeper hit for Showtime last year. On Thursday, the network’s chairman and CEO David Nevins, who also serves as Paramount+’s chief content officer of scripted originals, broke down the reasons for the genre show’s sizzle with multigenerational audiences during his keynote address at the NATPE Streaming conference in Hollywood.

Nevins, who spoke with Variety‘s co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton, also discussed how the globalization of the content marketplace is changing the way Hollywood works. And he was pressed by Littleton on the potential for a “Desus & Mero” reunion in the wake of the Showtime late-night pair’s decision to call it quits earlier this year.

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Of “Yellowjackets,” Nevins remarked that “smart casting” was a crucial part of the show’s success, investing in actresses, both younger and older, to portray the same characters and reflect the show’s elements and use of multiple timelines. He recalled that it was not initially a marketing priority for the network, but they took note of the buzz the show fostered among younger women on social media during the earlier part of its run.

“We started spending more during the course of the run, and we watched [viewership] go up every week. You could really see the push and an increased audience,” Nevins said. “[The show] really built up dramatically over time.”

Nevins also underscored the network’s confidence in the show’s upcoming sophomore season, indicating that it would premiere sometime in early 2023. “Season 2 is going to be dramatically bigger because a lot of international territories will be able to see it through Paramount+ this time around.”

The dramatic ending of Showtime’s “Desus & Mero,” along with the comedy duo’s surprising disbandment back in July, caused a heavy stir on social media, but Nevins is confident the two will eventually reunite, indicating that he still speaks with both Desus and Mero regularly.

“They’ve had a long, great creative partnership. At some point, you’re kind of going in separate directions, but that just sets you up for the eventual reunion,” Nevins said. “I’m still in touch with both of them, but they’ve got to do their own thing for a little while.”

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