Showtime axes ‘King Shaka’ drama as producer CBS Studios eyes new home

Showtime is not done cutting its programming costs just yet, with upcoming series King Shaka being cancelled by the Paramount-owned network despite most filming being completed.

The drama, which was ordered in 2021, is from CBS Studios and tells the story of the Zulu king, who is being played by Charles Babalola.

It is being produced by CBS Studios, Propagate and Fuqua Films. CBS Studios is now looking for a new home for the series.

Fuqua, director of Training Day and The Guilty, directs and executive produces, alongside Ben Silverman and Rodney Ferrell of Propagate. Fuqua also previously directed the Showtime documentary American Dream/American Knightmare.

Writers Olu Odebunmi and Tolu Awosika also exec produce, along with as Howard T. Owens, Gregory Lipstone and Spencer Medof, with Scott Greenberg and Michael Callas producing.

The series follows Shaka’s journey from a stigmatised childhood to his unlikely rise to power as warrior king in early 19th-century Africa.

The move comes three months since Paramount unveiled plans to merge Showtime into Paramount+, with a raft of shows cancelled as a result. The studio is instead focusing on expanding its drama franchises in the guise of Yellowstone, which has spawned 1883 and 1923.

Four Billions spin-offs are currently in development at Showtime, including Millions, Trillions, Billions: Miami and Billions: London.

Meanwhile, Dexter: Origins has received a straight-to-series order, a continuation of 2021’s Dexter: New Blood is in development, and projects based on other characters in the series, such as the Trinity Killer, are being explored.

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