Yes, supply-chain issues keep confounding businesses.
But some TV networks now have more new shows than ever. A prime example is Showtime, with one-fourth more new hours this year than it had pre-pandemic.
“That was part of the intent to grow,” Jana Winograde said. Viewers will see that quickly when:
– “Billions” (shown here) returns Sunday, Sept. 5, to start the final five episodes of its fifth season. It will then “make up for lost time by premiering Season Six in January,” Gary Levine said. He and Winograde, co-presidents of programming, had a virtual press conference with the Television Critics Association.
– “American Rust” debuts a week later. Based on a best-selling novel, it’s a deeply layered series that has Jeff Daniels as police chief in a declining Pennsylvania town.
– “L Word: Generation Q” then moves on Sept. 13 to Mondays, where it will be joined by the second season of “Back to Life.” That’s a fresh night for Showtime series.
– Two more new dramas debut this fall. “Yellowjackets” is the creepy tale of a teen girls’ soccer team, stranded in the mountains for more than a year; “Dexter: New Blood” finds the former serial killer with a new identity, in a small town. That’s a 10-week mini-series, providing a fresh finish – almost a decade later – to “Dexter,” which Levine called “a jewel in the crown of Showtime.”
– A flurry of Friday documentaries. That starts with a Rick James profile Sept. 3, then has two shows Sept. 10 – a look at Afghanistan after the pull-out and a grim profile of the American convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban. Also coming are films marking the 50th anniversary of hip hop.
Those documentaries are a key part of the oversupply. When COVID delayed the scripted shows, Showtime began doing more non-fiction, even nudging it into its best night.
“To be able to showcase them on a Sunday was an opportunity,” Winograde said. “They performed pretty well.” Particularly strong, she said, is “UFO,” which has its fourth and final episode Aug. 29.
With those shows filling in, Showtime could take its time with the scripted ones. “Black Monday” started two months later than usual … “Billions” has a three-month break between its seventh and eighth episodes … “Ripley,” originally intended for this year, was pushed back at least a year.
But Showtime continued developing new shows, leaving it with an abundance.
The most ambitious project, Levine said, involves fantasy adventure: “We started developing ‘Halo’ seven years ago …. It was always an odd fit, you know: (People asked) ‘What is Showtime doing, taking a first-person shooter videogame and putting it in (with) their dramas?’”
Eventually, he agreed and made a swap with a streaming service: Paramount Plus takes “Halo” and gives Showtime “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” a mini-series with Chiwetel Ejiofor.
That will be early next year. Also coming, Levine said, are:
– “The First Lady.” That starts with Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt.
– “Superpumped,” which each season will view an entrepreneur’s rise and fall. It starts with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Uber founder and Kyle Chandler as “his venture-capitalist enabler.”
– “Three Women,” based on a novel; cast so far are Shailene Woodley and DeWanda Wise.
– A “Ray Donovan” movie, wrapping up a series that, Levine says, was cancelled too abruptly.
– An “American Gigolo” series, from the “Ray Donovan” people. Jon Bernthal stars.
– Comedies with Vanessa Bayer and Emma Stone. Also, two “The Chi” writers are adapting “The Wood,” a 1999 movie. And “Flatbush Misdemeanors” and “Desus & Mero” have been renewed..
– And more, heading into 2023. In a surprise, there will be a follow-up to Bryan Cranston’s “Your Honor” mini-series. Also, “Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation” will be filmed in Africa.