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Showtime Removes Multiple Original Series Just Hours After Announcing Paramount+ Integration

Matt Tamanini

On Monday, Paramount Global announced that later this year, the company would officially merge its flagship streaming service Paramount+ and its premium cable channel Showtime into a singular entity for both streaming and linear clunkily called “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.” Well, that was only the first change to happen at the company as nearly immediately after the announcement was made, Paramount began removing series from the current SHOWTIME streaming service.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg, a number of recent, short-lived Showtime Original series unceremoniously disappeared from the streamer in the hours after the merger announcement was made on Monday evening. Included in the cuts were “Kidding” starring Jim Carey; Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s tech-focused anthology docuseries “Super Pumped”; “American Rust” starring Jeff Daniels, which was recently revived for a second season at Freevee; Kirsten Dunst’s “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”; vampire drama “Let the Right One In”; and the series adaptation of “American Gigolo,” starring Jon Bernthal.

THR also reports that two Australian series acquired for domestic distribution by Showtime, “The End” and “Wakefield,” have also vanished from the network’s various platforms; further removals are likely. Currently, the shows are still available to Paramount+ subscribers who also pay for the SHOWTIME bundle, but the series are expected to be removed from that streamer in the next few days as well.

Paramount is expected to allow the production companies behind the axed series to shop them to other networks and streamers in hopes of landing a streaming home or future seasons. Complicating things is “Super Pumped,” which has never officially been canceled by Showtime. The first season of the show focused on the ins and outs of creating Uber and had been renewed for a second season focusing on Facebook. That Meta-focused return now seems quite unlikely, at least at Showtime.

What once seemed antithetical to the entire streaming proposition, the removal of original content from services has become fairly standard in recent months as studios attempt to balance the books — at least in part — on the backs of underperforming series. This frustrating phenomenon first gained attention as Warner Bros. Discovery removed numerous originals from HBO Max, including the big-budget — and at one point very popular and critically acclaimed — “Westworld.” STARZ also followed suit earlier this month, and as HBO Max has done on multiple occasions, AMC+, canceled the second season of “61st Street,” despite the fact that it had already been filmed. Even the largest streamer in the world, Netflix, has decided not to proceed with two films, despite the fact that they have already been completed.

These types of content removals are generally targeted at titles that the streamers do not feel are generating enough traffic to warrant whatever the costs might be to keep them on the services; whether that is ongoing residuals to actors, healthcare contributions for cast and crew members, streaming payments for writers and creators, the math indicates that the streamers are not seeing a strong enough return on their investment to continue to make the shows available for subscribers to find.

While this has been a disappointing turn of events for customers, who had long been sold on the expansive and exhaustive libraries of streaming services, it has become a major point of contention for television writers who are preparing to strike if a new collective bargaining agreement cannot be achieved to remedy many of these contentious issues.

Many analysts have long assumed that the next phase of the streaming wars would be one of attrition and consolidation. However, the idea that streamers would be cutting their own bought-and-paid-for content was presumably not at the front of minds when those discussions were initially had. Despite that fact, the entire industry is currently going through a corrective period; when it eventually emerges on the other side, many of the services will look markedly different than they do now, and unfortunately, many of their libraries will be smaller as well.

  • Paramount Plus

    Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 40,000+ TV show episodes from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and more. The lineup includes “1883,” “Tulsa King,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” From well-loved franchises to compelling originals, Paramount+ offers a great library worth streaming. Live NFL games are included. The service also offers the option to watch your live CBS affiliate.

    Subscribers can choose between the Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with the Premium Plan for $9.99/month. Subscribers can add Showtime to either plan for an additional fee.

    With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time lineup, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.

    With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate.

    With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.

    The service was previously called CBS All Access.

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    SHOWTIME offers a subscription video streaming service that gives access to content on Showtime without the need of a cable subscription. With your subscription, you’ll get access to all of their current originals like Yellowjackets, Billions, and American Gigolo. If you choose to bundle Showtime with Paramount+, you can get both services for $11.99/month.

    With your subscription, you’ll also get access to their critically acclaimed catalog of previous shows like Shameless, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, House of Lies, Californication, Queer as Folk, and The L Word.

    SHOWTIME also has new-release films from CBS Films, Amblin Partners, and IFC Films, which appear on the streaming service 7-8 months after they are in theaters. Every month they also have hundreds of additional older movies from major movie studios.

    You can subscribe for $10.99 a month either directly from SHOWTIME, or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, or Roku Premium Subscriptions.


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