Showtime Guns For HBO's Audience, Subscribers

Premium cable channel Showtime, having already narrowed the gap in terms of programming buzz, is making an aggressive pitch to do the same with subscriber numbers as well, The Post has learned.

The CBS-owned pay television network has enlisted the nation's largest cable and satellite operators to offer a "free preview" weekend running from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 that will make Showtime available in 54 million homes - its largest audience ever.

Moreover, many providers, including Comcast and DirecTV, are offering Showtime for a special rate of $6.95 for the first three months instead of the standard monthly rate of $10 to $12.

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