Showtime, which is making an enhanced commitment to series production by
green-lighting six pilots, has ordered a second season of Street Time
from Sony Pictures Television and also commissioned its first scripted animated
Showtime Networks Inc. executive vice president of programming Gary Levine
said the premium channel, which is scaling back its telefilm roster in the
process, has OKed Street Time, starring Rob Morrow as a parolee and Scott
Cohen as his parole officer, for a second season.
The network has also approved seven episodes of the animated Free for
All, based on the Brett Mehar comic strip, with a primetime debut slated for
next June or July.
As for Street Time, Levine said fresh episodes installments figure to
debut next summer, but Showtime continues to negotiate with Sony about the
number of episodes. The first season encompassed 18 hours plus a two-hour
"With premium cable, you tend to go into the 13- to 15-episode range. That's
what we're talking to Sony about," he added.
Whether Showtime is still talking with Sony about a sophomore season for
science-fiction skein Odyssey 5 remains unclear. "We're still up in the
air," Levine said. "It's a really well-done show. But as we continue to focus on
our series mission, we have to be mindful of how unique it is. Can you see it
The decisions on Street Time and Free for All followed the
recent go-aheads for 15 hours of Dead Like Me and six hours of Out of
Order, which could expand beyond its limited series order. Both are expected
next summer, as is Earthlings, while Penn & Teller: Bullshit
will begin in January as a new late-night block materializes.
Earlier, Showtime has given the thumbs up to the second season of another
2002 freshman show, science-fiction series Jeremiah, which will maintain
its science-fiction tradition on Friday nights.
These newcomers join the established series trio of Queer as Folk,
Soul Food and The Chris Isaak Show. Showtime recently cancelled
Resurrection Blvd. after three seasons.
In addition to Penn & Teller: Bullshit, in which the magicians
debunk myths and institutions, Showtime will ramp up its late-night offerings
with Family Business, which follows the exploits of Seymore Butts, whose
family produces and directs porn films. Levine said that during the 10-half
hours that have been ordered, viewers will see the protagonist go through the
paces of his everyday existence: "He's a `normal' guy who is trying to raise a
kid. He can get plenty of sex, but is still looking for love," he added
Another late-night entry is Laffapalooza, which will feature two
comics doing stand-up. Jamie Foxx hosts the half-hour show.
Levine said Penn & Teller: Bullshit will roll out at 11 p.m. on
Fridays in January, with Family Business and Laffapalooza to
follow in February and March, respectively. Premieres will air Fridays, with
replays scheduled for Saturday nights.
As Showtime ramps up its series fare, original movies will be cut from 22 in
2002 to just 14 next year.
"We have enjoyed great success and critical
acclaim with our films, but movies are one-shots. Ultimately, you can build a
larger audience and become more brand identifiable through series," Levine
He declined to comment about Showtime's programming budget for 2003 with the
change in philosophy. However, sources indicated that the premium network would
allocate more than $420 million, which would represent a 5 percent increase over
this year's budget.