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The New Showtime Plans to Spin Off ‘Billions’ with (Wait for It) ‘Millions’ and ‘Trillions’

The revamped Showtime, er, Paramount+ with Showtime, wants to create its own version of the "Yellowstone" universe with "Billions" and "Dexter."

David Costabile as Mike "Wags" Wagner in BILLIONS, “Cannonade”.  Photo credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.


Jeff Neumann/Showtime

Showtime, er, Paramount+ with Showtime, is facing a major overhaul. The Paramount Global-owned premium-cable channel is shifting its focus to franchises, which is in turn bringing about some very questionable names beyond just the platform itself. Among the plans is to turn “Billions” into a universe with spinoffs working-titled — wait for it — “Millions” and “Trillions.”

Much like the new name for Showtime itself, we feel obligated to point out that this is not a joke. The Wall Street Journal, via an interview with Showtime boss Chris McCarthy, first reported the plans for the new Showtime. A spokesperson for McCarthy confirmed the news of all the series ordered and planned, which also includes another “Billions” spinoff set in Miami (and possibly even a fourth “Billions” spinoff) and a “Dexter” prequel series, for IndieWire.

The South Florida-set “Billions” spinoff sounds like it will have a crypto-currency angle. Another potential series in the franchise has a London setting. “Millions” will focus on young up-and-comers in the world of finance; “Trillions” will be “soapier,” per the Journal, and (obviously) set among the ultra-rich. Quick fact-check here: There are no individuals on Earth who claim to be trillionaires — nor is anyone close. No matter; each of the spinoffs will come from the O.G. series’ co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien.

Yes, up to four “Billions” spinoffs are in the works. And that “Dexter” origin story probably isn’t the only one from the serial killer’s world either: Showtime is also looking into exploring the back stories of other “Dexter” characters, including the Trinity Killer, in separate series.

“Dexter” sequel series “Dexter: New Blood” was a success for Showtime last year and will likely continue on. McCarthy selected Clyde Phillips to put together the (also) Miami-based “Dexter” origin series.

Yes, McCarthy is looking to replicate the success the company has found with Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” universe, which is currently no fewer than four series — and counting.

Michael C. Hall as Dexter in DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, “Cold Snap”. Photo Credit: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME.

Michael C. Hall in “Dexter: New Blood”

Seacia Pavao / Showtime

But wait, there’s more. The revamped Showtime has greenlit a CIA thriller series based on France series “The Bureau.” And that one is no pie-in-the-sky hope: George Clooney is already set to direct. Why no direct “Homeland” spinoffs? Paramount doesn’t own that show; Disney does.

“Of course we’re going to do new shows,” McCarthy told the WSJ. ““But we’re going to do [originals] in a way that has a much more stable base because we’ll have these big tentpoles that bring and hold the audience.”

If that all sounds big and expensive (especially the sets for “Trillions”), Showtime has been actively cutting costs. It recently removed the 21 lowest-rated series from its on-demand library, including “City on a Hill” and “The First Lady.” Plus, Showtime canceled the series adaptations of films “American Gigolo” and “Let the Right One In.” And the Shailene Woodley-starring “Three Women” was completed, and then deleted.

“It doesn’t mean they weren’t great, creative shows. They just weren’t for us,” McCarthy said. “Our job is to make those hard calls so that we can clear things out and deliver for our shareholders and consumers by reinvesting in shows we know will work.”

Mandy Patinkin as Saul in HOMELAND, "Catch & Release". Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.

Mandy Patinkin in “Homeland”

Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME

A week ago, Paramount Global announced that at some point “later this year,” the Showtime linear-television channel will be rebranded as “Paramount+ with Showtime.” The pricey version of Paramount+ that also includes Showtime will take on the same new name.

The combination of the brands means certain Paramount+ originals will air on Showtime’s linear channel. It could also be the next-to-last step toward fully folding Showtime into Paramount+, which would mean the end of the linear channel altogether. The two previously joined forces via a Showtime tile inside Paramount+.

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish described this merger of platforms in a note to staff and obtained by IndieWire as “the first of its kind to integrate streaming and linear content in this way.”

“This new combined offering demonstrates how we can leverage our entire collection of content to drive deeper connections with consumers and greater value for our distribution partners,” he wrote. “This change will also drive stronger alignment across our domestic and international Paramount+ offerings, as international Paramount+ already includes Showtime content. And, very importantly, this integration will unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits across our broader portfolio.”

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