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Showtime is a subscription television brand used by a number of channels and platforms around the world, but primarily refers to a group of channels in the United Statesmarker. As of August 2005, Showtime's programming is available to around 13 million subscribers in the United States.

Showtime primarily shows motion picture as well as some original programming and occasional boxing and MMA matches.


Showtime, originally a service of Viacom, went on the air on July 1, 1976, first shown on a local cable system in Dublin, Californiamarker. Its first program was Celebration, a concert special featuring Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and ABBA.

On March 7, 1978, Showtime expanded to the national market via satellite, competing with HBO and other pay cable networks.

In 1979, Viacom sold 50% of Showtime to TelePrompTer. In 1982, Westinghouse, who had acquired TelePrompTer the previous year, sold its share of Showtime back to Viacom. In 1983, Viacom and Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment merged Showtime and The Movie Channel to form Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc. (later Showtime Networks, Inc.). 1984 saw the premiere of Showtime's first original movie, The Ratings Game, both starring, and directed by, Danny DeVito. In 1985, Viacom acquired Warner's share of Showtime/TMC, making them the sole owner of Showtime once again.

In 1990, Showtime ventured into acquiring and premiering independent films directly for the channel, originally as part of its 30-Minute Movie anthology series of short films. One of its first premieres, 12:01 PM, was nominated for an Academy Award. In the years that followed, Showtime expanded its acquisitions into the realm of feature-length fare, including the 1997 remake of Lolita, directed by Adrian Lyne.

In the early 2000s, Showtime launched several additional multiplex channels including Showtime Too (a pun on its current name, Showtime 2), Showcase (formerly Showtime 3), Showtime Beyond and Showtime Extreme. Showtime had also launched several channels exclusively for digital cable: Showtime Family Zone, Showtime Next, and Showtime Women.

Showtime Networks also owns the channels The Movie Channel, The Movie Channel Xtra and Flix. Each multiplex channel offers movies and programs fitting each channel's particular theme. Premieres of popular movies are usually made on the primary channel.

In 2000, Showtime launched the "Showtime Interactive 24.7" channel—providing DVD-like interaction opportunities to its entertainment offerings.

In the 2000s, Showtime began test marketing a subscription-video-on-demand SVOD system. Now there is a Showtime subscription-video-on-demand channel called Showtime On Demand, which users are able to see episodes of Showtime original series, movies, adult programming and boxing.

Showtime also became one of the first cable TV network to broadcast an HDTV version of its channel, along with Dolby Digital sound.

In 2005, Showtime became a subsidiary of the newly renamed CBS Corporation, after the CBS/Viacom split of that year.


Showtime operates eight multiplex channels and a video on demand service (Showtime On Demand): Showtime also packages the Eastern and Pacific feeds of the main channel and its multiplex services together, giving viewers a second chance to watch the same movie/program three hours earlier or later — depending on their geographic location. However, certain cable systems only offer the main channel in this manner.

Note: the abbreviation in parenthesis is used as an on-screen identifier and in programming guides

  • Showtime (SHO): The flagship channel; blockbuster movies, first-run films, original series, specials, mixed martial arts events and championship boxing.
  • Showtime 2 (SHO2): Secondary channel; offers more movies, original series and specials. The channel was rebranded as Showtime Too from 2001 to 2006.
  • Showcase (SHOC): Similar to Showtime Too, features movies, first-run films and original pictures. The channel was previously known as Showtime 3 from 1996 to 2001.
  • Showtime Beyond (SHOB): The channel features a mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror films as well as Showtime original sci-fi series.
  • Showtime Extreme (SHOX): Action and adventure, thrillers, gangster and martial arts. Airs over 60 movies each month and a Sunday double feature spotlighting a different action star.
  • Showtime Family Zone (SHOF): Family-oriented programming, including movies and specials aimed at a younger audience. All movies are G, PG, or PG-13 rated and no R-rated movies or TV-MA rated programming airs on Showtime Family Zone. The channel is currently exclusively available on digital cable, but is not available in all areas.
  • Showtime Next (SHON): Interactive service that is geared towards adults 18–24; features over 50 films each month, original pictures, short films and animated shorts. The channel is currently exclusively available on digital cable, but is not available in all areas.
  • Showtime Women (SHOW): Targeted to women; airs films, Showtime original series and specials geared primarily at women. The channel is currently exclusively available on digital cable, but is not available in all areas.

Showtime HD

Showtime simulcasts all seven of its multiplex channels in 1080i high definition.

Original programming

Current programming

Upcoming series/pilots

Former programming

Showtime Original Pictures/Showtime Original Pictures for All Ages

Showtime has produced original movies under two titles: "Showtime Original Pictures" and "Showtime Original Pictures for All Ages", the latter of which are made-for-cable movies targeted at families:

Movie library

After its launch, Showtime signed exclusive first-run agreements with several movie studios. After being acquired by Viacom in 1994, Paramount Pictures began an output deal with Showtime (then also owned by Viacom), effective after 1997, which lasted 10 years. After the old Viacom was split in two corporations, the output deal with Paramount was not renewed after 2007, thus the pay-cable rights will transfer in 2009 to a new premium channel initiated in part by Viacom. Showtime has also agreements with IFC Films (which it shares broadcasting rights with Starz), ThinkFilm, certain films put out by The Weinstein Company (those that are distributed theatrically in conjunction with MGM Studios), and the newly re-formed United Artists (still a subsidiary of MGM). In 2008, the channel signed a deal with First Look Pictures to air their films.

On December 11, 2005, Paramount announced that it had purchased DreamWorks SKG in a deal worth $1.6 billion. It is still unclear when Showtime will add films from the studio onto its viewing schedule, as films being put out by the studio are still part of the studio's output deal with HBO.

Though not owning the broadcasting rights to show first-run movies from 20th Century Fox, Showtime has been able to show independent films the studio owns the home video rights to, even if they didn't release them theatrically. Most notably being Mel Gibson's controversial 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ. Others include Party Monster, Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, Woman Thou Art Loosed and Donnie Darko. As of 2006, Showtime has a partial deal with Rogue Pictures, allowing them to broadcast particular films put out by the studio (especially those originally produced for video), including Carlito's Way: Rise to Power and Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Showtime also plays a lot of classic movies from United Artists, Columbia Pictures, and some movies from the early and mid 1990s by Miramax Films and Warner Bros. (usually ones that are, at least, 13 years old from their initial theatrical exhibition). Even though Showtime doesn't have an output deal with certain titles from Universal Pictures, a number of films from Universal are played on Sundance Channel since the channel is a joint venture of Showtime, Universal, and The Sundance Institute.

The future of the channel was put into question when it was announced that three of its major suppliers of films Paramount Pictures, MGM, and Lionsgate, as well as their respected subsidiaries (Paramount Vantage and United Artists), would be teaming up together to form a new premium movie channel. Called Epix, it is set for a May 2009 launch as a broadband Internet service, and will arrive later that year on television. This is primary due to the company split-up of parent company Viacom into two separate entities, Viacom and CBS, the latter owning Showtime. Paramount Pictures' contract with the channel expired January 2008. This includes such films as Cloverfield and Iron Man being available to the new channel upon its initial run. MGM and Lionsgate's contracts expired at the end of 2008. [11604]. It is unclear whether or not this deal will include films from DreamWorks Picturesmarker, given that it was purchased by Paramount Pictures and their feature films are distributed theatrically by Paramount, though DreamWorks has an output deal with rival network HBO.

On July 15, 2008, it was announced that Showtime had signed a seven-year deal with The Weinstein Company to exclusively air their films during their initial premium-channel broadcasts, starting with their 2009 film slate. This includes films such as Nine, All Good Things and Quentin Tarantino's much-anticipated Inglourious Basterds. The deal also includes films from the studio's subsidiary Dimension Films.

Showtime has begun airing direct-to-video movies from Anchor Bay Entertainment, such as Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and Hatchet. Ironically, Anchor Bay is owned by Showtime's rival, Starz. On December 4, 2008, Showtime entered into an exclusive 4-year output deal with Summit Entertainment to air 42 of their films during their initial premium cable run. The deal includes all the films in the Twilight franchise, as well as the films Push, Knowing with Nicolas Cage, and the horror remake Sorority Row.

Usually films which Showtime has pay-cable rights will also run on The Movie Channel and Flix during its time of license.


  • 1984–1988: Showtime Excitement / We Make Excitement
  • 1993–1995: Something Good is Gonna Happen
  • 1997–2005: No Limits
  • 2005–present: TV. At Its Best.

Showtime Around the World

Showtime has two main pay TV networks that operate using its name; Showtime Australia and Showtime Arabia. It also has several channels that are licenced to use its name; Showtime Scandinavia (Denmarkmarker, Finlandmarker, Norwaymarker and Swedenmarker), Showtime Extreme (Spainmarker), and others.

See also


External links

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