TCA 2019: Showtime Thrives on Consistency, ‘Filmmaker-First’ Culture

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, presidents of entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc., talked up the attributes of their network with so much competition going on in the TV world. “Our brand is about consistency of programming,” said Levine. “We don’t just dump a series, send an email and hope it connects.”

Levine called Showtime “an island of stability” amidst so much television turmoil.

Winograde referred to the network as “the boutique option to the big-box stores.”

The duo spoke Friday during Showtime's portion of the 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour.

Related: New Seasons of ‘Shameless’ and ‘Ray Donovan’ on Showtime in November

The eighth and final season of Homeland premieres Feb. 9. Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin star.

Showtime has picked up City on a Hill for season two. Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge star. The season one finale happens Aug. 18.

City on a Hill is that addictive kind of meaty and messy show we love at Showtime,” said Levine. “With the inspired pairing of Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge and the inspired writing of Tom Fontana and Chuck MacLean, we believe there is a rich future for this compelling series.”

The Boston crime drama is created and executive produced by Chuck MacLean, with Tom Fontana showrunner and executive producer. Jennifer Todd, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Michael Cuesta and Barry Levinson also executive produce.

Winograde spoke of the “filmmaker-first culture” at the network.

Showtime has gained over two million subscriptions in the past year, as it has hit 27 million subs. Showtime’s original programming is up 30% this year. “We plan to grow even more in 2020,” she said.

Showtime announced comedy Work in Progress, created by Chicago improv mainstays Abby McEnany and Tim Mason, and co-written by Lilly Wachowski, premieres Sunday, Dec. 8. 

Levine called Showtime's Halo series "a big, big, ambitious project."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.