For the first time in Showtime’s history the pay-cable channel is making every episode of a series available for free to non-subscribers. The channel announced today that “The Trade,” a documentary series focusing on the opioid epidemic, is being made available on YouTube, SHO.com and the Showtime stand-alone service’s website Showtime.com, along with multiple TV and streaming providers’ websites, apps and free On Demand channels.
The series finale airs tonight on Showtime. The five-part series is executive produced and directed by Matthew Heineman.
“All episodes of [the] powerful five-part documentary series ‘The Trade,’ which explores the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on both sides of the border, are available now for free,” Showtime said in today’s announcement.
Vinnie Malhotra, Senior Vice President, Documentaries, Unscripted and Sports Programming, Showtime Networks Inc., says in the announcement: “‘The Trade’ deals with one of the most harrowing epidemics our country has ever seen. By making this documentary available to the widest possible audience, we’re opening eyes, minds and hearts to the situation going on in our backyards. Matthew Heineman’s revelatory and timely series outlines the complicated and human layers of the opioid crisis, and we feel it’s our responsibility to share his findings beyond Showtime subscribers, in the hopes of educating and inviting real change.”
The announcement adds: “The character-driven verité-style series ‘The Trade,’ which had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, seeks to break through the simplistic and often erroneously counterproductive assumptions surrounding the opioid epidemic by transcending the headlines to convey, with humanity and nuance the scope and gravity of the crisis. It is a continuation of Heineman’s searing examination of the border drug trade. His critically acclaimed 2015 documentary ‘Cartel Land’ earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature and won three Emmy Awards, Best Documentary from the Director’s Guild of America and the Courage Under Fire Award from the International Documentary Association, among others.”
“The Trade” is a production of Heineman’s Our Time Projects for Showtime. Pagan Harleman also serves as executive producer and showrunner.
Here’s a clip released today showing a roundtable discussion of the project among its producers …