Jerry Offsay, the architect for Showtime's original programming over the past
decade, will step down as the premium's network president of programming at
Showtime Networks Inc. chairman and CEO Matt Blank said the search for
candidates to replace Offsay would commence immediately. Offsay, in turn, will
then work with his successor to effect an orderly transition.
Offsay's exit is evidently his call.
"Last summer, I announced to Matt that after my 50th birthday, I
intended to leave Showtime," he said in a prepared statement. "After numerous
conversations with him, we agreed that we should make the announcement sooner
rather than later. This will allow Matt a reasonable amount of time to look for
my successor and provide an orderly transition."
Offsay joined Showtime in 1994 with a résumé bearing credits as president of
RKO Pictures, executive producer of such films as Eight Men Out and
Hamburger Hill and executive vice president of ABC Productions.
Over the course of his run at Showtime, Offsay has earned a reputation for
tackling controversial subjects and more than tripled Showtime's slate of
original series and movies, enjoying critical success, particularly for the
Indeed, of the 300 films Offsay has green-lighted over the past nine years,
69 have been nominated for Emmy Awards.
Among the critically acclaimed films: Hiroshima, Strange
Justice, Dirty Pictures, The Devil's Arithmetic,
Lolita, 10,000 Black Men Named George, Bang Bang You're Dead
and Bastard Out of Carolina.
But Offsay and Showtime have not enjoyed the same level of success in the
While shows like Queer as Folk, Soul Food and The Chris
Isaak Show have developed solid followings, none has created the buzz or
attained the cultural water-cooler status that rival Home Box Office has
garnered with The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
Currently, Showtime has upped its commitment to series and development.
The network has moved into the magazine and reality genres with Penn &
Teller: Bullshit and Family Business, respectively. It is expected to
bow its first scripted animation entry, Free for All,in July.
Scripted fare Dead Like Me and Earthlings will also premiere this
year, as will limited-order show Out of Order.