Paramount Global is integrating premium cable network Showtime into streaming service Paramount Plus and giving the combined product a new name: Paramount+ With Showtime. The changes will take effect later this year, according to Variety, which broke the news.
With that change comes cost cutbacks: Showtime on Monday canceled several new series, including Let the Right One In, starring Demián Bichir, and American Gigolo, starring Jon Bernthal. Another series, Three Women, starring Shailene Woodley and Betty Gilpin, never even made it to air and is being shopped elsewhere. Cutbacks and series cancellations are rampant right now as the economy teeters on the edge of a possible recession, and big companies trim bloated programming budgets.
“Now, with Showtime’s content integrated into our flagship streaming service, and select Paramount Plus originals joining the linear offering, Paramount Plus will become the definitive multiplatform brand in the streaming space — and the first of its kind to integrate streaming and linear content in this way,” Paramount CEO Bob Bakish wrote in a memo to staff Monday. “This new combined offering demonstrates how we can leverage our entire collection of content to drive deeper connections with consumers and greater value for our distribution partnersThis change will also drive stronger alignment across our domestic and international Paramount Plus offerings, as [internationally] Paramount Plus already includes Showtime content. And, very importantly, this integration will unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits across our broader portfolio.”
Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Showtime and Paramount Media Networks, also addressed staff, saying that the move will allow Paramount to “put more resources into building out the lanes that have made the Showtime brand famous, as well as turning our hit shows into global hit franchises. To do this, we will divert investment away from areas that are underperforming and that account for less than 10% of our views. We have already begun conversations with our production partners about what content makes sense moving forward and which shows have franchise potential.”
That points to a model that is working well for Paramount Plus – building out the Yellowstone universe with creator Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan has created several spin-offs out of his original story of the Duttons, including Mayor of Kingstown, starring Jeremy Renner; 1923, starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford; and 1883, starring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.