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Gary Garfinkel, Co-Head of Content Acquisitions at Showtime, Dies at 55

Gary Garfinkel, co-head of content acquisitions for Showtime Networks Inc., died early Friday morning, the company announced. He was 55 years old.

“Gary was one of the most warm and welcoming people I’ve known, and was beloved by everyone who worked with him at Showtime over the past 25 years,” said David Nevins, President and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc. “He was a great warrior and advocate for our company and worked hard to bring the best content to our service. In particular, many stand-up comedians credit Gary for giving them the early exposure that made their careers. He played a key role in cementing Showtime as a major premium network, and all of us who worked with him valued his taste, his counsel and his integrity. We will miss him terribly.”

Along with Kent Sevener, Garfinkel was responsible for the evaluation, negotiation and acquisition of feature films, documentaries, stand-up comedy, specials and music programs for all of Showtime Networks’ services. Garfinkel was integrally involved with programming, business development, digital media and specialized programing for on-air destinations that highlight documentaries, science fiction and horror. He dramatically increased stand-up comedy on the network, expanding the portfolio to 39 comedy specials in 2012, under the “Laugh Out Loud” on-air banner.

Garfinkel first joined Showtime in 1993. He previously served as senior vice president of film acquisitions, focusing on content strategy and acquisition for Showtime’s channels and services. He negotiated first-run theatrical output and library deals with the major studios and a multitude of licensing deals with independent suppliers. He built programming models for the development of new channels and significantly increased the volume of acquisitions for Showtime On Demand and the network’s authentication service Showtime Anytime.

Prior to joining Showtime, Garfinkel worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment as an international business analyst and in New York at Salomon Brothers Inc. as a foreign exchange analyst, while also attending New York University Stern School of Business. He received a B.S. in Finance from Boston University.

Donations in his name may be made to the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University and the UCLA Brain Cancer Research Fund.

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