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This Is Hands Down The Greatest Loss of The Showtime Merger

A national treasure.

Iconic Ziwe frame of being confused.

As audiences and entertainment labor are still reeling from the tumultuous Warner Bros. Discovery merger, we must brace ourselves for a new culling. According to Deadline, Paramount+ has merged with Showtime for a new network called ‘Paramount+ With Showtime.’ (I’m not joking.) The last two months have featured cancelations left and right. Now, the queen of the network is out. They got our girl; Ziwe is not being renewed for a third season.

For those that were sleeping on the work of Ziwe Fumudoh, she is best known for her interview show Ziwe. Fumudoh and her guests would talk about tough topics like race, gender, and more. She would ask them direct, oftentimes rough questions that would make everyone uncomfortable. This includes the people behind the camera and us, the audience. She did everything people accuse us of doing: “Making things about race” and seeing what happens.

After garnering attention for her viral interviews on Instagram and YouTube (with guests like Aparna Nancherla and Caroline Calloway), Showtime picked Ziwe. The cable prestige helped garner guests like Drew Barrymore, Wayne Brady, Amber Riley, Bob The Drag Queen, Julián Castro, and Gloria Steinem. Here, Ziwe also nabbed iconic interviews with polarizing figures like Julia Fox, Charlamagne Tha God, Andrew Yang, Deuxmoi, and Chet Hanks. The Showtime expansion allowed her to make satirical music videos and skits in between the interviews that were no less hilarious.

Showtime’s shakeup

Out of the entire Showtime catalog, the choice to axe this show is very puzzling. Ziwe is one of the handfuls of shows that goes viral constantly. Virality doesn’t equal subscriptions, but it reminded younger audiences that Showtime exists. Yes, Yellowjackets is huge, but the rest of the networks’ programming courts older audiences. Ziwe was even featured on season three of Succession.

In a staff note obtained by Deadline, Showtime’s head Chris McCarthy said, “We will divert investment away from areas that are underperforming and that account for less than 10% of our views.” He also wrote that shows that have “franchise potential” are important. This is giving me WBD investor call flashbacks. Even Paramount (Global) CEO Robert Bakish called Showtime’s stories “premium content and fandom.” It’s already frustrating seeing journalism being referred to as content. This normalization of entertainment and storytelling as “content” is irksome at best and demeaning at worst.

While maybe not as big of an impact as Warner Bros. Discovery, much of the same stuff is happening. Shows are being cut for branding, digital shows are disappearing (legally) forever, and projects are being ditched even after they’re already complete. For example, Three Women (based on Lisa Taddeo’s book) was reportedly completed. Luckily for the team behind the show, Starz picked the show up.

The future of Ziwe

Like other entertainers that take up a similar space (such as Eric Andre), Fumudoh is very unsurprisingly quiet about this. Unlike the character of Ziwe, she reserves herself for particular moments. When she does acknowledge this move by Paramount, it will probably be in some joking video in character—something on brand but uneasy among her audience.

In past interviews, Fumudoh’s talked about seizing the moment. The show came after her viral Instagram lives and similar (Baited) interviews on YouTube. If Fumudoh wants to keep at this, she can definitely do it with a smaller team or seamlessly slide into a similar to the Complex Network. Something ala Hot Ones with Sean Evans or Anthony Fantano—both shows I wanted to see her on. (Or them on Ziwe.) Some have wondered why she wasn’t in the running for The Daily Show. While she would do great, that could seriously limit Fumudoh. Additionally, she hasn’t signaled that she’s interested in a gig like that.

However, this could also mark an interesting career shift for the agent of chaos. I’m staying hopeful for her and the team that brought us one of the best interview shows of our generation.


i asked julia fox if italian americans are people of color #fyp #ziwe #juliafox #comedy

♬ original sound – ziwe

(via Deadline, featured image: Showtime.)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)