Showtime is mounting a big push in the documentary arena with a new slate of acquisitions and original productions to air under the "Sho Exposure" banner. The monthly documentary showcase will kick off October 14 with the premiere of Orson Welles: The One Man Band, narrated by director Peter Bogdanovich, a friend and confidant of Welles's in the years leading up to the legendary filmmaker's death in 1985 at age 70. "This is a form of programming that people seem to be responding to right now," openly gay Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt said, citing the success of recent documentaries like Michael Moore's Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine, which will have its pay-TV premiere on Showtime next year. "We wanted to give it a higher-profile slot and put everything that we're doing in documentaries under one [branding] umbrella."
Showtime has also acquired the rights to Vikram Jayanti's documentary James Ellroy's Feast of Death, which chronicles the best-selling novelist's obsession with grisly murders and his quest to solve his own mother's long-unsolved murder. Feast will air in the "Sho Exposure" slot next month, followed in December by Trust Me, an original Showtime doc about Muslim, Christian, and Jewish preteens attending a summer camp in North Carolina in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Showtime has nabbed the rights to The Mayor of Sunset Strip, a study of consummate Hollywood scene-maker Rodney Bingenheimer, who also is a DJ at KROQ-FM Los Angeles. Mayor is set to premiere early next year.
Also on deck to bow next year on Showtime are two documentaries to be presented under the title The Opposite Sex. Both films will follow a person's life-altering decision to undergo a sex-change operation. Other theatrical documentaries on tap for Showtime's new programming slot include Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Step Into Liquid, and Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy.