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CBS is in the midst of very public will-they-or-won’t-they merger chatter as it reportedly circles Viacom, teasing a union that would promise big changes. But at CBS-owned Showtime, new co-presidents of entertainment Gary Levine and Jana Winograde are bullish that their premium cable network is established enough and autonomous enough to continue on its own merry way, unencumbered by machinations overhead.
“There’s a culture here of stability,” says Levine in his deep, mellifluous voice at Showtime’s West Hollywood headquarters. “A lot of people have been here a long time [and] feel comfortable here. So even though there are some changes going on with parent corporations and stuff, we feel very secure and very solid.”
September - Flurry - Misconduct - Allegations - Boss
September amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations. Their boss, Showtime CEO David Nevins, soon added chairman and CBS chief creative officer to his list of responsibilities, filling the creative gulf left by Moonves even as he continues to run Showtime as CEO.
Levine is an 18-year vet in Showtime’s original programming unit who’s seasoned in the storytelling and creative demands of premium TV. Winograde is a 2017 addition who ran business operations at the network after two decades at ABC and has been at the forefront of reinventing the linear TV business model. Together, they present a sort of left-brain, right-brain united front.
Decisions - Winograde
“When any decisions need to be made, we tend to make them together,” says Winograde. “It’s been fairly seamless.”
Greater production demands and stiff competition for talent mean that the network’s programming budget has increased, but Levine takes pride in not emptying Showtime’s wallet to outbid competitors.
Growth - Programming - Side - Winograde - Desus
“That being said, we are committed to growth, both on the scripted and unscripted programming side,” says Winograde. She cites “Desus & Mero,” Showtime’s recent first foray into late night, as “a great example of that.”
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