It’s Showtime for Bell Media

The media co is promoting its new partnership by premiering new comedy Happyish ahead of the U.S. this Saturday night.

Bell Media is showing off its newest partnership, officially debuting its deal with CBS Corp.’s Showtime with a day of promotions at its Toronto headquarters yesterday.

The partnership marks the first time Showtime has expanded its brand outside of the U.S., and is a deal that David Nevins, president, Showtime Networks Inc., said he hopes will be the model for other expansions in English-speaking countries around the world.

For Bell Media, the Showtime deal was crucial to getting Crave out of the gate with competitive content, said Phil King, president CTV, sports and entertainment programming, Bell Media.

“I feel we have a big head start on Netflix with this deal,” he told the assembled press. 

Bell Media is using main net CTV to kickstart the Showtime launch with an exclusive Canadian window for the premeire of Happyish, a new comedy starring Steve Coogan. It will air on Saturday night at 10 p.m. on CTV, a day ahead of its U.S. Showtime debut. Following that, the series will be offered exclusively on CraveTV, day-and-date with its U.S. partner.

Showtime content on CraveTV appears much like a channel, with shows appearing as a group of content under the “Showtime Collection.”

While bolstering CraveTV is the focus on the deal, King says some of the programming may migrate to Bell Media non-pay specialties in the future, but that such a scenario would likely only apply to secondary windows.

King says Bell Media will be promoting the partnership with Showtime across its platforms, with creative emphasizing the brand as well as the individual shows, so that viewers come to associate Showtime with quality when they hear about new titles coming to air.

In addition to hosting Showtime content on CraveTV, Bell Media will continue to show a two-hour weekly block of shows from the network on its pay TV channel, TMN.

Image (left to right): Shanola Hampton (Shameless), Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful), Maura Tierney (The Affair), David Nevins, president, Showtime Networks Inc. and Phil King, president, CTV, sports and entertainment programming