Showtime Uses CBS to Promote 'Brotherhood'

Aims to Boost Buzz Around Brightest Hope Show

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NEW YORK ( -- A bit of premium TV is coming to broadcast this weekend: CBS will rebroadcast corporate sibling Showtime's "Sopranos"-esque drama "Brotherhood" on Saturday at 11 p.m. EDT.
'Brotherhood' is one of Showtime's best hopes for getting HBO-type buzz.
'Brotherhood' is one of Showtime's best hopes for getting HBO-type buzz. Credit: Norman Jean Roy

And if viewers don't catch the premiere of the program, it won't be because the network didn't try to make it available. "Brotherhood" made its debut Sunday, has been re-aired on Showtime every night this week and will continue to do so leading up to next Sunday's second episode. It also aired two weeks early on Showtime on Demand.

Silver-bullet potential
Showtime has struggled to create the kind of buzz HBO has garnered with shows like "Entourage," "Sopranos" and "Deadwood." Showtime's 13.8 million subscribers, as of December 2005, trail HBO's by half, according to Kagan Research.

"Brotherhood" has potential to be the silver bullet according to many critics -- the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called it "a masterpiece" and the Los Angeles Times raved it "seems fresh nearly all the time." The trick, Showtime clearly feels, is increasing sampling. In a release, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves touted the arrangement as an example of corporate synergy. "This is just one example of how content divisions in our company can work together to complement and support each other's efforts," he stated.

One-time deal
The show has been edited for broadcast TV and cut from 54 minutes to 48 minutes. It will air with limited commercials -- including a few 10-second spots promoting the premium cable channel.

Showtime spokesman Stu Zakin said the re-airing is -- as of right now -- a one-time deal and whether it happens with the second episode is "CBS's call. ... We're just happy about getting a broader audience than we've had in 30 years."
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