Paramount Chief Bob Bakish Teases More ‘Ray Donovan’ While Addressing Unsolicited $3 Billion Showtime Bid That ‘Wasn’t That Interesting’

Though Showtime is being rebranded into Paramount+ With Showtime, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish says the Showtime brand is alive and well, and more projects based on the cable channel’s most iconic series, including “Ray Donovan,” are in the pipeline for the integrated platform.

“We’re not just doing that with streaming, we’re doing that for linear as well,” Bakish said during a Morgan Stanley-hosted investor conference Wednesday. “So come sometime this year, when you turn on Showtime linear, it’s going to be Paramount+ With Showtime. And it’s what I call a win-win-win. It’s a win for consumers, because the product is going to be fundamentally better than Showtime. You’re going to get ‘1923’ on it, you’ll get ‘Tulsa King,’ as part of your Showtime subscription. It’s just going to be a bigger, broader product. We fundamentally believe in a broad thesis. So that will work at the consumer level and as part of that, we’re leaning into the Showtime franchises. So you could think about the slate as smaller, which will be less expensive, but also really giving the people what they want — which is more Showtime, maybe more ‘Dexter,’ maybe more ‘Ray Donovan,’ and really leaning into that. And we have some exciting plans there.”

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As Variety previously reported, Paramount has already ordered multiple spinoffs of its “Billions” series and is in talks for offshoots of “Dexter,” as well. But this is the first mention made of continuing “Ray Donovan,” which wrapped up with a series finale movie in 2022 after seven seasons on Showtime.

Later in the Paramount panel, Bakish also teased the possibility of doing more “kings,” after the success of Sylvester Stallone’s Paramount+ series “Tulsa King.”

No launch date has been set for the rebranded Showtime, which will incorporate Paramount+ into both the streaming and linear offering, but as it’s slated for Q3 of this year (and so is a price increase), the Paramount chief emphasized: “Make no mistake, this is the next step in our mission of delivering consumers a broad cornerstone service on a multiplatform basis.”

Bakish also addressed the multiple recent reports that the company had turned down a $3 billion-plus offer from former Showtime leader David Nevins to buy the network.

“We don’t usually comment on M&A, but there has been so much comment about the Showtime thing that, I don’t know, we’ll cross the line and talk about it,” Bakish said. “We got an unsolicited offer for Showtime. We looked at it… And the reality is, it wasn’t that interesting to us because if you compare that price, that it’s been rumored in the press — I’m not going to say it — if you compare that to our internal business plan, the reality is our internal plan is far more value-creating when you take the base earnings in synergies and, by the way, how it affects the streaming path to profitability… It just didn’t make sense for it to be at anywhere near that price.”

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