EXCLUSIVE: The ongoing changes at Showtime have reached the network’s development slate which has been cut down significantly, with a slew of projects getting a pass, I hear.
There had been a programming slate reevaluation since Chris McCarthy added Showtime to his purview following the exit of longtime CEO David Nevins in October. The process accelerated last month when, following the January announcement that the premium cable network will be integrated into Paramount+ on digital and renamed as Paramount+ with Showtime on linear, it was revealed that Showtime will merge with MTV Entertainment Studios.
McCarthy at the time set new programming leadership for the network, with Nina L. Diaz expanding her role as Chief Creative Officer and President of Content of the combined operation, and Keith Cox named President of Scripted, reporting to her.
The release of a ton of development that had been bought by the previous regime a month later comes and as Showtime is shifting its programming strategy to the three lanes laid out previously by McCarthy: Complex characters and subversive antiheroes like Dexter, Your Honor and Yellowjackets; High-stakes powerful worlds like Billions and Homeland; and Culturally diverse takes like The Chi and the upcoming Fellow Travelers.
There is also a focus on franchise building, with Showtime recently commissioning offshoots of Billions and Dexter.
According to sources, the new regime is moving away from the traditional network model of volume development designed to yield a handful of series towards a more targeted development, developing fewer projects with the goal for nearly everything to ultimately get a green light.
The development slate trim follows the release of some high-profile Showtime projects over the past couple of months, including complete seasons of new series Three Women, which landed at Starz; and fellow upcoming seres Ripley, which moved to Netflix, as well as pieces of development such as limited series The Whites, starring and executive produced by Ethan Hawke.
No Showtime series has been renewed since December’s early Season 3 pickup for Yellowjackets, which just retuned for a second season to record viewership. There have been a number of cancellations since, including Let the Right One In, American Gigolo as well as The L Word: Generation Q. (Showtime is working on a new L Word reboot set in New York.)
Freshman comedy I Love That for You is the last remaining current primetime Showtime series whose fate is up in the air. As Deadline has reported, there has an internal push to get the well received series renewed, and I hear it is looking promising.