Changes at Showtime continue, with Entertainment Co-Presidents Gary Levine and Jana Winograde stepping down from their posts. The announcement was made this morning by Paramount Global’s Chris McCarthy, who assumed oversight of the pay cable network in November’s reorganization that saw longtime Showtime CEO David Nevins leave the company.
McCarthy is expected to announce a new executive team for Showtime, soon to be rebranded Showtime Paramount+, which is rumored to include a new role for Keith Cox, his chief script executive on the basic cable side.
Since McCarthy acquired Showtime in November, it has been announced that the pay cable network will be integrated into Paramount+, fueling speculation about the future of Levine and Winograde, particularly Levine, whose business and operational responsibilities would likely be rendered redundant in the new structure. Winograde has been with Showtime for six years, during which time he has also served as creative oversight alongside Levine.
“Many of the current functions Jana oversees, including business affairs, production, operations and casting, will be centralized and as such Jana will be leaving,” McCarthy wrote in the memo. (You can read it in full below.) “Not only was Jana a skilled steward of the Showtime brand, her strategic acumen raised the profile of the network domestically and around the world.”
Last week, McCarthy unveiled his new content strategy for Showtime, which relies heavily on intellectual property by expanding existing series like Billions and Dexter into TV universes that Levine helped build as Showtime’s top creative manager. Levine also developed the upcoming series Three Women and Ripley, which were recently released and have found new homes on Starz and Netflix, respectively.
“I am very pleased to announce that Gary will be taking on a new role as Senior Creative Advisor for Showtime, reporting to me,” said McCarthy. “I’m pleased that he can now focus more closely on several important shows and franchises while continuing to advise me and the Showtime executives,” McCarthy added in one of Levine’s favorite phrases.
Levine had been rumored for some time – well before Nevins’ departure – that he was considering leaving after more than two decades on the network.
Meanwhile, Cox would fit into Showtime’s new programming strategy as he was involved in the expansion of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone franchise.
Another key programmer on McCarthy’s team, the head of non-script Nina L. Diaz, I understand would also be given additional responsibilities at Showtime.
Here’s McCarthy’s internal note, followed by Winograde’s email to staff.
I want to update you on our Co-Presidents of Entertainment at SHOWTIME, Gary Levine and Jana Winograde.
Gary approached me because after more than 22 years overseeing all of the original programming at SHOWTIME, he was ready to put his impressive creative abilities to better use. I am very pleased to announce that Gary will be taking on a new role as Senior Creative Advisor for SHOWTIME, reporting to me. Gary has been the creative force at SHOWTIME for nearly two decades and has helped create and maintain the quality of some of television’s most iconic series including DEXTER, BILLIONS, THE CHI, HOMELAND, THE L WORD, NURSE JACKIE, CALIFORNICATION, SHAMELESS, WEEDS, YELLOWJACKETS , YOUR HONOR and so many others, which is why I’m so excited he’ll be here for the next chapter of SHOWTIME.
Gary’s interests are varied, including his devotion to theater and his moonlighting as a cantor at his synagogue. There aren’t many items on display in his office, but there are clearly treasured items – including a shovel from his former colleagues at ABC, engraved with one of Gary’s “Let’s Dig In” phrases. Anyone who’s worked with Gary will tell you that he’s incredibly personable – but when it comes to work, he likes to get to the point and “pack it up”. I am pleased that he can now focus more closely on several key shows and franchises while continuing to advise me and the Showtime leaders.
Gary’s contributions to SHOWTIME could surpass anyone else in the network’s history. He left his undeniable mark and I am so happy that he will be here as we create the next generation of programs.
With SHOWTIME’s enterprise-wide integration, many of the current functions that Jana oversees, including business affairs, production, operations and casting, will be centralized and Jana will be leaving.
In her six years here, Jana has been a passionate advocate for SHOWTIME. Her talented and consistent leadership helped grow the business and our partnerships with our creative community. Along with Gary and the creative teams, Jana has been instrumental in launching many of our biggest hits including the acclaimed recent series DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, YELLOWJACKETS and YOUR HONOR.
Not only was Jana adept at managing the SHOWTIME brand, her strategic acumen has raised the profile of the network domestically and around the world. Perhaps most of all, what is clear is Jana’s dedication to the SHOWTIME family, mentoring junior talent and maintaining an open-door policy for colleagues at all levels. Without a doubt she has been a supportive and motivating force for everyone at SHOWTIME.
On a personal level, I am particularly grateful for Jana’s thoughtful and passionate collaboration over the past few months. Jana was instrumental in positioning SHOWTIME to continue to thrive as a brand, studio and streaming service.
I will be providing an update soon on a new, unified governance structure for our organization. In the meantime, I would like to congratulate Gary on his new role and thank Jana for her many contributions and wish her continued success in the years to come.
As most of you know, I’m leaving Showtime after an incredible six years. Coming to Showtime after 23 years at ABC, it was hard to imagine feeling the same sense of commitment, passion and belonging at any other company. But the culture of collaboration, hard work, and inspired creativity was contagious, and that, coupled with the opportunity to play a key role in transforming our business model, has made my years at Showtime some of the best of my career.
Perhaps most exciting was the opportunity David Nevins and Showtime gave me to spread my creative wings. As President of Entertainment, I have grown from an executive with a keen curiosity about the creative process to one who has been integral in the development and production of groundbreaking, bold programs. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Gary Levine, and working with him and our entire creative team has been a masterclass in premium content. Showtime’s commitment to excellence is unmatched, and the company’s unique culture encouraged us to take risks, whether it be with new voices, bold visionaries, or diverse storytelling. We’ve been successful as a company, we’ve made groundbreaking entertainment, and we’ve had a blast doing it!
I know as I think back on my years at Showtime I will forever be proud of the stories we told and the way we told them and I will be indebted to all of that I have learned so much from. But most of all, I will be grateful to have worked with the incredible people who built the game changer that is Showtime. Not only are you the best team in the business, you’re the best people.