Paramount is merging the premium tier of its streaming service Paramount+ with its pay-TV channel Showtime in the U.S., creating one big entertainment Brundlefly. And just like the ill-fated Jeff Goldblum-insect hybrid, it will also do a bit of shedding.
Announced by Paramount CEO Bob Bakish in a memo to staff(Opens in a new window), the factually named Paramount+ with Showtime will incorporate Showtime’s content into the streaming service, while adding some of Paramount+’s original programs to its linear broadcasting lineup. This will bring Paramount+ in the U.S. more in line with its international version, which already offers Showtime content.
“And, very importantly, this integration will unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits across our broader portfolio,” said Bakish.
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Bakish’s optimism was echoed by continuing Showtime lead Chris McCarthy. In his own memo to staff, McCarthy celebrated the merger as providing the resources to build Showtime’s more popular shows into “global hit franchises.”
“To do this, we will divert investment away from areas which are underperforming and that account for less than 10% of our views,” McCarthy wrote, “We have already begun conversations with our production partners about what content makes sense moving forward and which shows have franchise potential.”
Seemingly following this new directive, Showtime has already announced the cancellation of Let the Right One In, Three Women, and American Gigolo(Opens in a new window).
Meanwhile, McCarthy specifically highlighted shows like Yellowjackets with “complex characters,” “high-stakes powerful worlds” such as Billions, and “culturally diverse takes” as in The Chi as some of Showtime’s stronger offerings. These ones are likely on the safer, “franchise potential” track.
Unfortunately, the law of equivalent exchange(Opens in a new window) dictates that the kind of unholy alchemy Paramount is performing can’t be executed without consequences. In addition to cutting programming, job cuts are also likely across both Showtime and Paramount+.
“While we are confident this is the right move for our company, our consumers, and our partners, we know this change brings uncertainty for the teams working on these brands and businesses,” said Bakish. “We are committed to being as transparent and thoughtful as possible throughout this process, and we expect to share additional details in the coming weeks.”
Paramount+ with Showtime’s plans and pricing will also be announced in the coming weeks.
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