TCA: Prime time for Showtime

NursejackieIt was no surprise to see Showtime’s Matt Blank and Robert Greenblatt looking like they were enjoying themselves Friday afternoon during their executive Q&A sesh. Any way you look at it, Showtime is on a roll. They’re not getting the

“Why aren’t you as cool as HBO?” questions lobbed at them at TCA anymore. Think of the programming assets Showtime has these days: “Weeds,” “Dexter,” “The Tudors,” “Californication,” “The L Word,” “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” “Brotherhood,” “This American Life,” “Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!” and “Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union.”

Greenblatt reinforced the cabler’s Big Mo with his rundown of the paybox’s programming highlights during the past year, capped by Thursday by the best drama series Emmy nom nabbed by “Dexter.” He also showed off clips of two intriguing half-hours  to come, “Nurse Jackie” (pictured left), starring Edie Falco as an Unitedstatesoftara_2 unconventional nurse at a Gotham hospital; and the Toni Collette-John Corbett starrer “The United States of Tara” (pictured right), the brainchild of Steven Spielberg and Diablo Cody about a suburban mom with multiple personalities.

Greenblatt noted that Showtime’s top buzz-getters, “Dexter” and “Weeds,” are in a contest for bragging rights as the cabler’s highest-rated shows. “Dexter” set a new high water mark for the feevee-er last September with its season two opener drawing more than 1 million viewers. “Weeds” has been smoking in its fourth season. Its June 16 debut brought in 1.35 million viewers for the premiere, and segs have been averaging a cume weekly rating of more than 3 million — a ratings record by far for Showtime, Greenblatt assured the crowd.

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