Showtime shifting original dollars

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Showtime is reducing production of original movies in favor of producing more original along with costlier movies and miniseries, Reuters reports.

Jerry Offsay, programming president told Reuters Showtime would cut original movies to 24 annually from 35, more than any other cable or broadcast network. The average production cost for a movie is expected to rise to about $5 million from $4 million. The budget for an episode of a weekly series will climb to $1.3 million an hour from $1.1 million. Showtime's annual programming budget reportedly is $375 million.

For a firstrun movie, Offsay said, Showtime has begun signing three or four name actors instead of the one or two that sufficed previously. He cited one forthcoming family film featuring Hume Cronyn, Alan Arkin, Sherilyn Fenn and Bruce Davison, and another, directed by Danny Glover, that stars Ally Sheedy, Amy Madigan, Robby Benson and Carl Lumbly.

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