Showtime Is Planning to Build Out a ‘Billions’ Cinematic Universe With Two Spin-Offs

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis in Billions.

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis in Billions.Courtesy of Jeff Neumann for Showtime Networks Inc. via Everett Collection
Get ready to watch the lifestyles of the uber rich and the uh, lesser rich, on the incredibly-titled Trillions and Millions.

To the casual viewer, it may have seemed like Billions, Showtime’s drama about the cat-and-mouse game between petty US attorney Chuck Rhoades and hedge fund tycoon/white collar criminal Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) was past its prime. The show was renewed for a seventh season, but its cultural stock—and quality—started waning after four, a position worsened by Lewis exiting the series a season ago. And yet, Showtime isn’t ready to put the series to pasture—quite the opposite, actually, as a new Wall Street Journal report reveals the network is doubling down on the series by building out a Billions franchise.

The most incredible part of this news? That the in-development Billions spinoffs are currently being called Millions (Less than billions!) and Trillions (More than billions!). Per WSJ, Millions will focus on “young characters on the come-up in finance,” while Trillions will, of course , focus on the glamor and drama of the uber wealthy.

In addition to Billions, Showtime is planning to develop several shows around popular Dexter supporting characters, including Arthur Mitchell aka the Trinity Killer, who was played to much acclaim by John Lithgow in the show’s fourth season. (For those who already forgot: a limited Dexter revival, New Blood, was released in November 2021 and brought back actors like Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, but was not renewed.) In hopes of replicating the success of Homeland, Showtime is also pursuing an American adaptation of the French espionage series The Bureau to be directed by George Clooney.

As WSJ noted, the move here is similar to what happened with HBO Max following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, when several high-profile projects, including Batgirl, were nixed. Among the casualties for Showtime are Let the Right One in and American Gigolo, two film adaptations that received lukewarm reviews, as well as a scrapped TV adaptation of Lisa Taddeo’s nonfiction book Three Women, which was set to star Shailene Woodley, De Wanda Wise, and Betty Gilpin. As with Warner Bros. Discovery, there are likely significant layoffs coming to Showtime due to this consolidation effort within Paramount.

These major changes come as Paramount plans to combine its two streaming services, Paramount+ and Showtime, into a single entity called Paramount+ With Showtime. Behind executive Chris McCarthy, Paramount has found huge success building out an interconnected universe around Taylor Sheridan’s western  drama series Yellowstone, which stars Kevin Costner as the patriarch of a prominent ranching family in Montana. Yellowstone, now in its fifth season, has already spawned two prequel shows, 1883 and 1923, (which focus on earlier members of the Dutton family), the latter of which marking one of Harrison Ford’s first forays into television. 

Copying the Paramount-Yellowstone strategy represents a meaningful strategic pivot for Showtime, which has historically focused more on fresh new series than creating franchises. “Of course we’re going to do new shows,” McCarthy said, per The Wall Street Journal, “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.”

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