Showtime and HBO have made opposite programming decisions for Super Bowl Sunday. Showtime, which originally planned to air repeats on February 2, has now decided to air originals of its series Shameless, House Of Lies and Episodes against the big game. I hear the call was made after Showtime brass were encouraged by the shows’ performances last Sunday when, against the strongest primetime NFC Championship Game in 19 years, they managed to post a 17% year-to-year audience growth for the night. With over 70% of Showtime subscribers watching series on a time-shifted basis, the network decided not to interrupt its weekly delivery of originals.
Meanwhile, HBO will preempt marquee new limited series True Detective, which will go on hiatus on February 2. As a one time exception, the network’s Sunday comedies Girls and Looking will premiere their episodes a day earlier, on Saturday, February 1, at their usual 10 PM and 10:30 PM times. The two episodes will also air February 2 in their regular slots, with the network additionally making them available on HBO on Demand earlier on usual beginning January 27.