By: Sean Crose
If you’re a fan of Showtime programs such as American Gigolo, Three Women, and Let the Right One In, prepare to be disappointed. For it was announced on Monday that those three programs will no longer continue being made by the Showtime Cable network, as Showtime is now being combined with Paramount+, and is cutting out programing that doesn’t help the bottom line or pave the way towards the future. Now boxing fans must wonder: Will the sweet science continue to be broadcast on Showtime, or will it disappear from the network, the way it from HBO several years ago?
As the Hollywood Reporter writes, ” both the Showtime linear pay-TV channel and the premium tier of Paramount+ will be rebranded as Paramount+ with Showtime, with Chris McCarthy to lead the Showtime studio and linear channel, and Tom Ryan overseeing the streaming business.” Suffice to say, McCarthy has made it clear cuts are on the way. “While we are confident this is the right move for our company, our consumers, and our partners,” he said, “we know this change brings uncertainty for the teams working on these brands and businesses.” Is Showtime Boxing one of those “brands and businesses” on the chopping block? It’s hard to tell for sure, but it’s understandable why fans would be concerned.
First, HBO pretty much dropped it’s longstanding boxing broadcasts without so much as a second glance in 2018. The network was looking to appeal to a more upscale audience and boxing was simply too gauche for its newfound urbane sensibilities. While this might not be the case with Showtime – Paramount+ is certainly interested in the largest audience possible, after all – it’s worth asking how successful boxing remains on the network. Is is bringing in enough eyeballs, or is it in line to go the way of American Gigolo?
Saying boxing ain’t the draw it used to be is something of an understatement at the moment. Pay per views just ain’t bringing in a million buys anymore, unless perhaps, a social media influencer is involved. What’s more, it’s doubtful most Americans know who heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury is, or even who Canelo Alvarez is. On top of all that, Showtime has been broadcasting pay per views which frankly aren’t pay per view worthy. While that may have a lot to do with Showtime’s boxing partner, Premier Boxing Champions, it’s Showtime Pay Per View where these fights are being broadcast.
With that in mind, Showtime DOES have a strong boxing program. ShoBox, which features up and coming fighters, is particularly impressive. Showtime’s broadcast team is strong, and through Premier Boxing Champions it’s got access to a lot of major talent. Lastly, Showtime has a history of excellent boxing broadcasts. To see it vanish just like that would be a shame, not just for the sport or the fans, but for the network itself. Still, it can’t be denied that the future right now looks quite uncertain for Showtime’s boxing programming.
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