What began as a local cable system in the city of Dublin, Calif., has been grown in two decades into a popular national cable network. Showtime first went on air on July 1, 1976, and by 1978 it went national via satellite to compete with rival HBO.
Even in its infancy, the cable network saw the value of creating original content for home audiences. In 1984, it saw the debut of its first original movie, "The Ratings Game," starring and directed by Danny DeVito.
Expansion and the adoption of new technology characterized the new millennium for the network. In 2000, the channel premiered Showtime Interactive 24.7, which provided DVD-like interactivity. In the next few years, Showtime launched a number of channels, including Showcase, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Family Zone, Showtime Next, and Showtime Women exclusively on digital cable.
Showtime's slate of programming includes "Weeds," "Dexter," "The 'L' Word," and "This American Life."
"Dexter," about a serial killer's life, won a Peabody Award and an AFI Award in 2008. "Weeds"' Mary-Louise Parker was honored with a Golden Globe Award in 2006 for best actress in a musical or comedy series.