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A look at key shows and turning points in the cabler’s history.
1976: Showtime launches at 6 p.m. on July 1. The network’s first program, Celebration, features Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and ABBA in concert.
1988: Matthew Blank joins Showtime on Feb. 1. In 1991, he is named president and chief operating officer; he is upped to chairman and chief executive in 1995.
1992: Showtime wins its first-ever Emmys (in directing and editing) for Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. The network rolls out its long-running erotic drama Red Shoe Diaries.
1997: On June 28, Showtime creates the biggest event in pay-per-view history with its Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson II fight, which earns the network’s first Sports Emmy nomination and win.
2003: Bob Greenblatt joins Showtime as the network’s entertainment president in July. During his seven-year tenure, subscribers and profitability grow 52 percent and 97 percent, respectively.
2004: The network premieres its lesbian drama The L Word on Jan. 18. (An unscripted spinoff, The Real L Word, launches in 2010.) Hank Azaria dramedy Huff bows Nov. 7.
2005: Mary-Louise Parker‘s pot dealer dramedy Weeds premieres Aug. 8. Other new entries include Kirstie Alley sitcom Fat Actress (March 7), sitcom Barbershop (Aug. 14) and drama Sleeper Cell (Dec. 4).
2006: Viacom and CBS split; Showtime Networks Inc. becomes part of CBS Corp. on Jan. 1 under the leadership of Leslie Moonves. Providence drama Brotherhood premieres July 9; the following year, it’s honored with a Peabody Award. Michael C. Hall‘s serial-killer drama Dexter bows Oct. 1.
2008: Showtime ends its movie output deals. Dexter nabs a Peabody, Californication‘s David Duchovny wins a comedy Golden Globe, and Secret Diary of a Call Girl premieres June 16.
2009: Edie Falco‘s drug-addiction dramedy Nurse Jackie and Toni Collette‘s multiple-personalities dramedy United States of Tara premiere Jan. 18. Collette wins a lead actress Emmy in the comedy category.
2010: David Nevins joins Showtime as the network’s entertainment president in July. Laura Linney‘s The Big C debuts Aug. 16. Falco wins the comedy lead actress Emmy.
2011: William H. Macy/Emmy Rossum ensemble Shameless and Matt LeBlanc‘s Episodes, both greenlighted by Greenblatt, premiere Jan. 9. Costume drama The Borgias launches April 3; sports documentary The Franchise: A Season With the San Francisco Giants bows July 13; and Claire Danes/Damian Lewis CIA thriller Homeland debuts Oct. 2. Linney nabs the comedy lead actress Emmy.
2012: Don Cheadle‘s corporate comedy House of Lies premieres Jan. 8. Homeland captures the network’s first series trophy and a best actress win for Danes and Episodes‘ LeBlanc wins best actor at the Golden Globes.
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