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25 memorable moments in Showtime’s 25-year history


“Dirty Pictures,” starring James Woods, wins a Golden Globe for miniseries or motion picture made for television.


For the second consecutive year, Showtime, Movie Channel and Flix account for more than half of the premium category’s growth.

Showtime premieres “Resurrection Blvd.,” the industry’s first weekly one-hour dramatic series to predominantly feature Latinos in front of and behind the camera; “Soul Food,” which follows a multigenerational African-American family in Chicago; and “Queer as Folk,” which centers around five young gay men and a lesbian couple living in Pittsburgh. The latter series goes on to win a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Award for outstanding drama series.

“Strange Justice,” the story of Clarence Thomas’ controversial struggle to become a Supreme Court justice, wins the Peabody Award. This follows on the heels of the network receiving a Peabody for Jodie Foster’s “The Baby Dance.”

High-definition television (HDTV) is launched for the film “Star Trek: Insurrection.” The high-def feeds are in 1080i, the highest-resolution format and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.


Original miniseries “Thanks of a Grateful Nation,” about Gulf War syndrome, receives the Humanitas Prize. Previously, miniseries “Hiroshima” (1996) won a Humanitas as did “American Heroes & Legends: Johnny Appleseed” (1994).

Bill Condon, writer-director of “Gods and Monsters,” wins an Oscar for screenplay based on another medium. The pic was developed and co-financed by Showtime, which also reached a U.S. theatrical distribution agreement with Lions Gate to distribute the film theatrically before it aired on the cabler.


Showtime acquires all U.S. distribution rights to “Lolita,” director Adrian Lyne’s adaptation of author Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel.

Launch of the “No Limits” rebranding campaign; a few months earlier, the cabler unveiled its new logo, representing the first significant change in 20 years.


Showtime Event Television airs Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson, the biggest event in pay-per-view history at the time. The fight garners Showtime its first Sports Emmy nomination.


“Bastard out of Carolina,” which marks Anjelica Huston’s directorial debut, wins the Television Critic’s Assn. Award for achievement in movies, miniseries and specials.

The cabler receives its first Daytime Emmy nomination for “Song Spinner.” To date, Showtime has received 66 Daytime Emmy noms.

Sundance Channel, a venture between Showtime Networks, Robert Redford and Universal Studios, is launched.


Mike Tyson signs an exclusive multiyear agreement for the PPV marketing and exhibition of all his fights for over three years.


Showtime’s short-length feature “Session Man” wins an Oscar for live-action short films. After its theatrical release, the pic has its exclusive television premiere as a 30-Minute Movie.


Two originals were selected to participate in the Cannes Intl. Film Festival: “Paris Trout,” which premiered on the network in April, and “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse,” which marked the network’s first venture into documentary filmmaking, premiered in October and went on to win two Emmys.


Showtime/The Movie Channel Inc. changes its name to Showtime Networks Inc. Also, Showtime Event Television is formed to distribute special event programming to pay-per-view companies.


Evander Holyfield begins an association with the network that will cover a span of 11 fights and include the bout in which he was crowned heavyweight champ in 1990.


Viacom, again, becomes the sole owner of Showtime/The Movie Channel Inc.


“Brothers” premieres and begins a five-year run. The series portrays an all-American family turned upside down when the program’s lead character — the youngest of three brothers — reveals that he is gay.


Viacom forms a new joint venture, Showtime/The Movie Channel Inc. The cabler signs an exclusive deal with Paramount, giving exclusive premium cable rights to all theatrical product for the next five years.


Showtime becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Intl. through their buyout of the 50% interest held by Group W Cable, a Westinghouse subsidiary that had merged with TelePrompTer in 1981.

“Falcon’s Gold” is Showtime’s first made-for-pay-television movie. Also premiering is children’s programming with the launch of the original series “Faerie Tale Theatre,” from Shelley Duvall.


Showtime is made available to cable operators across the country via satellite.


The network officially launches July 1. Its first program, “Celebration,” features rock stars Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and ABBA in concert.

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