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Showtime Hires New Programming Chief

Producer Bob Greenblatt's decision to lead Showtime Network Inc.'s programming crew returns him to familiar, yet different ground. Greenblatt, currently a principal in The Greenblatt Janollari Studio and previously executive vice president of primetime programming at Fox Broadcasting Co., will become Showtime's entertainment president, joining the network's Los Angeles offices July 14.

He succeeds the retiring Jerry Offsay and reports to chairman and CEO Matt Blank.

"I always loved being a network executive, and it was the right time to make the move," Greenblatt said.

Pay TV has its appeals. "I don't have to worry so much about Nielsens," he said. "You don't have the [ad]-sales department or standards coming down to your office. Those are things that water TV down."

Blank cited Greenblatt's success with series, a growing part of Showtime's original-programming strategy.

"Bob's track record over the past 10 years in terms of development and shows on the air has been phenomenal," Blank said. "He has a real sense for the finding the unique voice."

Along with partner Dave Janollari, Greenblatt's an executive producer of Home Box Office's hit Six Feet Under.

Greenblatt Janollari also has plenty of experience working with fellow Viacom Inc. network UPN, for which it's developing Eve, a vehicle for the hip-hop diva, for the upcoming season.

This past season, UPN and Viacom sibling MTV: Music Television ran Platinum.
Another show for UPN, One on One, is in its third season of production.

During eight years at Fox, Greenblatt was involved in the production and development of The X-Files, Ally McBeal, Party of Five, Melrose Place, King of the Hill
and Beverly Hills 90210.

He also helped develop pilots for Dawson's Creek
and The Sopranos.

Given his experience with The Sopranos
and Six Feet Under, does Greenblatt feel added pressure to come up with pop-culture, water-cooler shows for Showtime?

"Obviously, the answer is yes. We want to find one or two shows that break through with a unique voice. Sometimes it only takes one — like FX has with The Shield
—to get everybody's attention."

Greenblatt said no decisions are imminent about second seasons for the rookie late-night series Penn & Teller: Bullshit
and Family Business. "From what I've seen, the press they've received and the buzz they've generated, things appear good. But I have no idea at this point about these and other series. There are certain commitments in place. You're not going to see wholesale changes."

Greenblatt did express some regret about leaving his working relationship with partner Janollari. "I'll still have my hands in some of the shows the studio had in production, but obviously not on a daily basis. I'm hopeful that we can work together on some projects for Showtime."

Offsay has "an open-ended production deal" to develop telepics for Showtime, Blank said.