Saturday Night's Alright for Showtime

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In order to maximize marketing and promotional opportunities for its boxing events, Showtime said it will schedule its 2004 fight telecasts on the first Saturday of each month.

Beginning Jan. 3, the network will air Showtime Championship Boxing according to a scheduled monthly rotation, rather than on randomly selected dates.

Showtime sports and events programming senior vice president Jay Larkin said the move will create appointment viewing for boxing fans, while allowing Showtime to more effectively schedule movies and original programming around its highly-rated boxing shows.

"A predetermined monthly date enables us to handpick the most competitive fights and promote them to the fans and our subscribers more aggressively," Larkin said. "It also allows us to be able to maximize awareness of some of our most successful programming and put [them] into better lead-in and lead-out positions from our boxing shows."

The new strategy comes as Showtime completes most of its multifight deals with fighters such as junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszu and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

Going forward, Showtime won't enter long-term arrangements with either promoters or fighters. Larkin also said Showtime's pay-per-view boxing business and Showbox: The New Generation — its twice-monthly Thursday night series featuring up and coming fighters — won't be affected.

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