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Showtime (1976)

"Brace Yourself"

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Showtime is an American premium cable television service featuring programming that consists primarily of theatrically released motion pictures, along with original series, made-for-cable movies, and occasional boxing and mixed martial arts matches. The channel is owned by Showtime Networks, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation.

As of April 2011, Showtime's programming reaches 20 million subscribers in the United States. The Showtime brand is used by a number of channels and platforms around the world, but primarily refers to the group of channels in the United States.


Showtime, originally a service of Viacom, went on the air on July 1, 1976, first shown on a local cable system in Dublin, California. Its first program was Celebration, a concert special featuring Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and ABBA.

On March 7, 1978, Showtime expanded to the national market via satellite, competing with HBO and other pay cable networks.

In 1979, Viacom sold 50% of Showtime to TelePrompTer. In 1982, Westinghouse, who had acquired TelePrompTer the previous year, sold its share of Showtime back to Viacom. In 1983, Viacom and Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment merged Showtime and The Movie Channel to form Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc. . 1984 saw the premiere of Showtime's first original movie, The Ratings Game, both starring, and directed by, Danny DeVito. In 1985, Viacom acquired Warner's share of Showtime/TMC, making them the sole owner of Showtime once again.

In 1990, Showtime ventured into acquiring and premiering independent films directly for the channel, originally as part of its 30-Minute Movie anthology series of short films. One of its first premieres, '', was nominated for an Academy Award. In the years that followed, Showtime expanded its acquisitions into the realm of feature-length fare, including the 1997 remake of Lolita'', directed by Adrian Lyne.

In the early 2000s, Showtime launched several additional multiplex channels including Showtime Too , Showcase , Showtime Beyond and Showtime Extreme. Showtime had also launched several channels exclusively for digital cable: Showtime Family Zone, Showtime Next, and Showtime Women.

Showtime Networks also owns the channels The Movie Channel, The Movie Channel Xtra and Flix. Each multiplex channel offers movies and programs fitting each channel's particular theme. Premieres of popular movies are usually made on the primary channel.

In 2000, Showtime launched the "Showtime Interactive 24.7" channel—providing DVD-like interaction opportunities to its entertainment offerings. In the 2000s, Showtime began test marketing a subscription-video-on-demand SVOD system; the subscription-video-on-demand channel called Showtime On Demand, which users are able to see episodes of Showtime original series, movies, adult programming and boxing, was launched officially in 2002. Showtime also became one of the first cable TV networks to broadcast an HDTV version of its channel, along with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

In 2005, Viacom and CBS announced its intention to split up only six years after Viacom bought the network and its television assets. The original Viacom was renamed CBS Corporation and got the broadcasting elements, Paramount Television's production operations , Viacom Outdoor advertising , Showtime Networks, Simon & Schuster and Paramount Parks, which the company later sold, while the new Viacom kept Paramount Pictures, MTV Networks, BET Networks, and , Famous Music. National Amusements retains ownership of both companies to this day.

In May 2010, it was reported that Showtime plans to launch a service to stream episodes of original series to subscribers.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Showtime", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.