Under the extended agreement, Albrecht will remain Starz’s chief executive through 2020. He will also add the title of president.
“Chris has developed Starz into a leading, innovative entertainment brand with award-winning original programing that resonates with U.S. and international audiences,” said Greg Maffei, chairman of Starz. “He has made remarkable contributions to the business over the past six years, and we look forward to his vision creating even more value for distributors, partners and shareholders.”
Albrecht joined Starz as CEO in 2010 and oversaw the channel’s push into original scripted programming with series such as “Black Sails” and “Power.” He has been outspoken about creating programming aimed at audiences that have been traditionally underserved by premium cable channels, such as women and minorities. Starz’s most popular series, “Outlander,” averaged 2.1 million total viewers in its second season, according to Nielsen live-plus-seven ratings.
“I am excited to move forward with my role at Starz and want to thank Greg and the Board for their continued support,” Albrecht said. “We have a tremendous runway for growth. I am more enthusiastic than ever about our strong and resilient subscription-based business model and commitment to make Starz an innovative global brand with an eye to the future.”
A merger between Starz and Lionsgate has been the subject of continued public speculation. Speaking to the possibility at the Gabelli & Company movie and entertainment conference in New York this month, Albrecht indicated that any potential union between the two companies would not be impeded by executive ego.
“You want me to stay, pay me,” Albrecht said. “You want me to go home, pay me.”
Prior to joining Starz, Albrecht served as the chairman and CEO of HBO, where he had spent the bulk of his television career.
This month has also seen Starz announce the retirement of former president Glenn Curtis and the promotion of Jeffrey Hirsch to COO.
More to come …