I have to alter the beginning page of the website from www.example.com/index.php to www.example.com/shows/index.php.

since both files are named index, i believed a directory redirect should have the desired effect.

I would make use of the following code:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com$
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^$ shows [L]

The main one caveat would be that the www.example.com/index.php page is related to, elsewhere within the site, and I wish to ensure individuals links will still work.

So my real question is: It is possible to method of triggering the rewrite only when the directory is known as, and not if files within the directory are known as? Oh, and it is my logic that this works to resolve my problem correct? Or have you got a better suggestion?