The changes at Showtime continue, with Co-Presidents of Entertainment Gary Levine and Jana Winograde stepping down from their posts. The announcement was made this morning by Paramount Global’s Chris McCarthy, who took oversight of the pay cable network in the November restructuring that saw longtime Showtime CEO David Nevins leave the company.
McCarthy is expected to announce a new leadership team for Showtime, soon to be renamed Paramount+ with Showtime, which is rumored to include a new role for his top scripted executive on the basic cable side, Keith Cox.
Since McCarthy took over Showtime in November, it was unveiled that the pay cable network will be integrated into Paramount+, which intensified speculation about the future of Levine and Winograde, especially the latter, whose business and operations-related duties likely would become redundant in the new structure. Winograde has been at Showtime for six years, during which time she also added creative oversight alongside Levine.
“Many of the current functions that Jana oversees including business affairs, production, operations and casting are being centralized, and therefore Jana will be leaving,” McCarthy wrote in the memo. (You can read it in full below.) “Not only has Jana been a deft steward of the Showtime brand, her strategic acumen has boosted the network’s profile domestically and around the world.”
Last week, McCarthy unveiled his new content strategy for Showtime that relies heavily on IP by expanding existing series like Billions and Dexter into TV universes, which Levine helped build as Showtime’s top creative executive. Levine also developed upcoming series Three Women and Ripley, which recently were released and have found new homes at Starz and Netflix, respectively.
“I am very pleased to say that Gary will be taking on a new role as Senior Creative Advisor for Showtime, reporting to me,” McCarthy said. “I am delighted that he will now be able to dig in, in a more focused way, on several key shows and franchises, while continuing to advise me and the leaders of Showtime,” McCarthy added, using one of Levine’s favorite phrases.
Levine had been rumored for awhile — long before Nevins’ exit — to be mulling a departure after more than two decades at the network.
Meanwhile, Cox would fit into the new programming strategy for Showtime as has been involved in expanding Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone franchise.
Another key programming executives on McCarthy’s team, head of unscripted Nina L. Diaz, also would be getting additional responsibilities at Showtime, I hear.
Here is McCarthy’s internal note, followed by Winograde’s email to staff.
I would like to provide you with an update regarding our Co-Presidents of Entertainment at SHOWTIME, Gary Levine, and Jana Winograde.
Gary approached me because after more than 22 years of overseeing all of the original programming at SHOWTIME, he was ready to use his formidable creative skills in a more focused way. I am very pleased to say that Gary will be taking on a new role as Senior Creative Advisor for SHOWTIME, reporting to me. Gary has been the creative force for nearly two decades at SHOWTIME, helping to give birth and sustain the quality of some of TV’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 am thrilled he will be here for the next chapter of SHOWTIME.
Gary’s interests are many, including his devotion to theater and his moonlighting as a cantor at his synagogue. His office doesn’t display many items, but they are clearly cherished ones – including a shovel from his former colleagues at ABC that is engraved with one of Gary’s phrases “Let’s Dig In.” As anyone who has worked with Gary will tell you, he is incredibly personable – but when it comes to the work he wants to cut to the chase and “dig in.” I am delighted that he will now be able to dig in, in a more focused way, on several key shows and franchises, while continuing to advise me and the leaders of Showtime.
Gary’s contributions to SHOWTIME might surpass those of anyone in the history of the network. He has left his undeniable mark, and I am so happy he will be here as we create the next generation of programming.
With the integration of SHOWTIME across the company, many of the current functions that Jana oversees including business affairs, production, operations, and casting are being centralized and therefore, Jana will be leaving.
In her six years here, Jana has been a passionate advocate for SHOWTIME. Her talented and steady leadership helped to evolve 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 wins, including the acclaimed recent series, DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, YELLOWJACKETS and YOUR HONOR.
Not only has Jana has been a deft steward of the SHOWTIME brand, her strategic acumen has boosted the network’s profile domestically and around the world. Perhaps most of all, it’s clear how much Jana dedicated herself to the SHOWTIME family, mentoring junior staff members 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 especially grateful for Jana’s thoughtful and passionate partnership over the last few months. Jana has been pivotal in positioning SHOWTIME to continue to thrive as a brand, studio and streaming service.
I will be providing an update soon about a new, unified leadership structure for our organization. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating Gary on his new role and thanking Jana for her many contributions and wishing her continued success for years to come.
As most of you know, after an amazing six years, I will be leaving Showtime. When I came to Showtime after 23 years at ABC, it was hard to imagine feeling the same sense of commitment, passion and belonging at another 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 the transformation of our business model, have made my years at Showtime some of the best of my career.
Perhaps most exciting has been the opportunity David Nevins and Showtime gave me to spread my creative wings. As President of Entertainment, I’ve transitioned from a business executive with a keen curiosity about the creative process into one who’s been integrally involved with the development and production of groundbreaking, bold programming. I could not have asked for a better partner than Gary Levine, and working with him and our entire creative team was a master class in premium content. Showtime’s commitment to the highest level of excellence is unsurpassed and this company’s unique culture encouraged us to take risks, whether with new voices, bold visionaries or diverse story telling. We were successful as a business, we made groundbreaking entertainment, and we had a great time doing it!
I know that when I reflect on my years at Showtime, I’ll forever be proud of the stories we told and the ways in which we told them, and I’ll be indebted to everyone from whom I’ve learned so much. But, most of all, I’ll be thankful to have worked with the incredible people who built the game-changer that is Showtime. You are not only the best team in the business, but the best people.
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