The future of Showtime’s co-presidents of entertainment, Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, has been determined.
Chris McCarthy, who added oversight of Showtime last year following the departure of David Nevins, sent a memo to staff Monday revealing that two-decade network veteran Levine will segue to a new role as senior creative adviser, while six-year network exec Winograde will be leaving the company at week’s end. Additional layoffs are involved in the executive shake-up.
It’s unclear if Levine has signed a new contract as part of the considerable change in his role. He will now report directly to McCarthy.
The changes come mere months after Nevins departed Paramount Global, with McCarthy adding oversight of Showtime to his purview that also includes Paramount Network, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, CMT and other linear networks.
“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,” McCarthy explained in his memo to staff. (Read it in full, below.)
Winograde, in her own note to staff, gave a shout-out to McCarthy’s predecessor for expanding her role from business into creative. “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,” she wrote. (Read her full memo, below.)
McCarthy noted that the idea to shift roles came from Levine. “He was ready to use his formidable creative skills in a more focused way,” McCarthy said, singling out Levine’s impressive track record of scripted series that includes Dexter, Billions, The Chi, Shameless, Yellowjackets and many others.
Since McCarthy’s arrival, the executive has overhauled Showtime’s roster of scripted originals as he pivots the premium cable network for a rebranding as “Paramount+ With Showtime” to match the streamer’s premium tier. As part of the programming overhaul, McCarthy is focusing on complex characters, powerful worlds and metro cultures. He is leaning into a franchise strategy that has proved successful with Yellowstone and announced multiple Dexter offshoots and four Billions spinoffs, while also dumping pricey dramas Ripley and Three Women (which were saved by Netflix and Starz, respectively). Speaking of metro cultures, McCarthy saved Neil Patrick Harris comedy Uncoupled following its cancellation at Netflix. The series is produced in-house by MTV Studios (which McCarthy also oversees) and one of Paramount Global’s most valued producers, Darren Star.
For her part, Winograde joined Showtime in 2017 as president of business operations, West Coast, following a two-decade run at ABC. She was promoted alongside Levine to co-president of entertainment in early 2019 after Nevins was upped to chief creative officer at Showtime.
Here’s McCarthy’s full memo 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.
Here’s Winograde’s note to staff:
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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