Showcase and BET networks are finally coming together in a re-branding venture of their parent organizations Viacom and CBS.
The newly born service, christened SHOxBET will pool content from both Showtime and BET with a special focus on attracting the Black viewers.
According to BET Networks president Scott Mills:
“Showtime and BET’s shared popularity with African American viewers is the reason BET was incorporated into the Showtime premium networks group after the merger.”
Their merger brings us SHOxBET, a multiplex channel with a mix of series, feature films, and documentaries.
When asked whether programming would be introduced on the channel to address the issues of racial equality and social justice in the wake of the protests of the death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, Showtime’s Christie said that “The Chi” and “Desus & Mero” are “already speaking to those issues and those topics,” and function as a “foundation from which we can build from there.”
Starting Wednesday, the new channel will take the place of Showcase in the Showtime portfolio. Even the fantasy genre-oriented SHO Beyond is being phased out as a result of the co-branding effort.
What’s on SHOxBET?
SHOxBET will feature same-night replays of Showtime originals such as “The Chi,” “Black Monday,” “Desus & Mero” and the upcoming “The Good Lord Bird,” as well as new runs of some of Showtime’s “House of Lies,” “Guerilla” and “Sleeper Cell.” It will also offer first-run movies such as “Waves,” “An Acceptable Loss,” as well as BET’s “Back to the Goode Life,” “Keys to the City” and miniseries “Madiba.”
Also featured on the plex are boxing specials, events, documentaries, sports series such as “Shut Up and Dribble,” and stand-up comedy specials from Black comedians such as Eddie Griffin and Mo’Nique.
The Big Merger Story
According to Wikipedia, ViacomCBS Inc. is an American diversified multinational mass media conglomerate formed through the merger of CBS Corporation and the second incarnation of Viacom in 2019, which were split from the original incarnation of Viacom in 2005.
Bakish, speaking last February on an earnings call, said the initiative (SHOxBET) is one of many attempts at synergy taking place across the company.
“We see an even bigger opportunity to grow Showtime subscribers by making better use of its plex channels, some of which are currently underutilized,” he said.
“The goal for Showtime is to become broader, more accessible to different demo targets. And we think this is a very good first step to get there,” stated Showtime’s Christie.
Multiplexing began about two decades ago as a way to take advantage of improved pay-TV bandwidth to offer multiple channels of the same premium service.
Originally Written By Epic Dope
“This channel is really a reflection of taking those complementary elements to the next logical conclusion,” Mills told Variety earlier this year. “And that is, both platforms really understand premium programming to African American viewers and people who value content that is anchored in African American narratives and African American stories.”