The game of musical chairs continues at Paramount. On Tuesday, the company’s fast-rising TV boss Chris McCarthy and its chief research officer, Colleen Fahey Rush, announced via internal memo that Kim Lemon, Showtime’s EVP of data strategy, research, scheduling and programming, would be exiting. In what it likely no surprise to those within, Lemon is being replaced by a longtime Viacom-turned-Paramount executive, Laurel Weir.
Headliners with Rachel Nichols to feature NBA All-Star Joel Embiid in premiere episode today.
Showtime has been going through downsizing and recalibration since the November ouster of longtime CEO David Nevins and the premium network’s inclusion in Paramount Media Networks President Chris McCarthy’s portfolio. There have been layoffs, series cancellations and an executive restructuring as McCarthy articulated the plans for the network, which will soon be rebranded as Paramount+ with Showtime. They include multiple TV universes built around some of Showtime’s biggest series, including multiple Dexter and Billions offshoots. During the Morgan Stanley conference Wednesday, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish addressed the strategy and indicated that other Showtime series could be revisited too.
What Happens Next For Tegna?
Showtime laid off approximately 120 staffers Monday amid a streaming-focused restructuring that saw the exits of several top execs as the pay TV channel’s team was merged into MTV Entertainment Studios, a spokesperson confirmed. No other details were available regarding which departments within Showtime were affected, although a source close to the situation tells Variety those cuts could amount to roughly 25% of Showtime’s workforce.
Showtime Executive Shakeup: Gary Levine Segues To Advisory Role; Jana Winograde Exits In Restructuring
The changes at Showtime continue, with Co-Presidents of Entertainment Gary Levine and Jana Winograde stepping down from their posts. The announcement was made this morning by Paramount Global’s Chris McCarthy, who took oversight of the pay cable network in the November restructuring that saw longtime Showtime CEO David Nevins leave the company. McCarthy is expected to announce a new leadership team for Showtime, soon to be renamed Paramount+ with Showtime, which is rumored to include a new role for his top scripted executive on the basic cable side, Keith Cox.
The premium cable network overhauls its slate around franchises after its merger with streamer Paramount+.
With Showtime Merging Into Paramount+, Erin Calhoun To Oversee Streaming & Cross-Company Publicity; Susan Lundgren Exits
Following Monday’s announcement that Showtime’s linear and streaming platforms will be rebranded to Paramount+ With Showtime, Paramount Global has promoted Showtime and Paramount TV Studios communications chief Erin Calhoun to the new role of EVP of communications of Paramount Streaming and Cross-Company Publicity. The news of the exec’s elevation comes as CBS Interactive’s Susan Lundgren exits her post, giving Calhoun expanded purview across brands.
Showtime will no longer be a stand-alone brand. Paramount Global revealed Monday that the company is rebranding the premium cable network as “Paramount+ with Showtime” as part of a wide-ranging change that also brings the two brands together in the streaming world. Chris McCarthy will continue to lead the Showtime studio and oversee network operations for the linear channel and work closely with Tom Ryan, who will oversee the Paramount+ with Showtime streaming business.
The chief creative officer for Paramount+ scripted originals and chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks will exit the company at the end of the year, he told staff in a memo Thursday.
The move would bring together two of the entertainment company’s offerings in a crowded sector.
Paramount has combined Paramount+ and Showtime into a single, merged service — letting subscribers access content from both streamers in one place. It’s also offering promotional discounts on the Paramount+/Showtime bundle of up to 33% for the next month. (Image: Paramount)
Production On Showtime’s ‘American Gigolo’ Shut Down Following Showrunner David Hollander’s Dismissal
Showtime and Paramount Television Studios have suspended production for four days on upcoming series American Gigolo, a reboot of the popular 1980 movie. The move comes a couple of days after the Paramount network and TV studio severed ties with the series’ developer, writer, director and executive producer David Hollander following an investigation into allegations of misconduct.
Urooj Sharif, who had a previous run at Showtime early in her industry career, is returning to the premium cabler as vice president, scripted programming. In her new role, Sharif will be responsible for the development and production oversight of premium scripted series, including drama, comedy and limited series. She will creatively oversee all steps of development and production, as well as serving as the network liaison for projects through delivery and release.
“If you are working on commercials or for HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, BET or another company that has a contract still in effect – you must keep working,” IATSE informed its members. “You will not be a scab!” (Image: HBO; IATSE; BET)
Until midnight on October 20, subscribers can pay $10 for the ad-supported tier (with limited ads on select Paramount+ programming) or $13 for the ad-free option. As stand-alones, the two tiers of Paramount+ currently cost $5 and $10, while Showtime is at $11.
Sunday’s Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul exhibition bout has apparently crashed Showtime’s servers. “We are aware that some customers have been having trouble accessing tonight’s Pay Per View event on Showtime.com. We are working diligently to resolve the issue and will redress customers appropriately,” a Showtime spokesperson said in a statement around 7:30 p.m. ET.
ViacomCBS-owned fight circuit Bellator MMA will have its matches air on corporate cousin Showtime as the premium network continues to ramp up its investment in ring sports.
Stephen Colbert is heading back to Showtime for another live election night special. The host of The Late Show will front Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020. It marks the second live election special for Colbert after he hosted Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This Sh*t? in 2016.
The premium cable outlet has ordered a 10-episode Dexter limited series that will reunite star Michael C. Hall and original showrunner Clyde Phillips. The show will be a continuation of the original, eight-season series, which ended in 2013 with Hall’s Dexter Morgan going on self-imposed exile as a lumberjack and living a solitary life. Production is scheduled to begin early next year for planned fall 2021 premiere.