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Golden Globes: ‘Flesh and Bone,’ ‘Outlander,’ ‘Blunt Talk’ Noms Burnish Starz Brand

No Golden Globe nominations came as a bigger surprise on Thursday morning than the pair that went to Starz’s limited series “Flesh and Bone.”

The eight-hour project about a driven ballerina with a troubled past was well-received by many critics but still had a far lower profile than its competition in the crowded limited series/TV movie field. Starz did not mount an elaborate Globes campaign for the series — no set visits or special presentations per se.

But Hollywood Foreign Press Association voters responded to the screeners that Starz sent to members, which led the HFPA to request a press conference with ingenue star Sarah Hay, Ben Daniels and Damon Herriman. That was the first indication that “Flesh and Bone” was on Globe voters’ radar. Still, a nom in the limited series/TV movie category and a mention for Hay, a dancer who makes her thesping debut in the series, was more than anyone imagined.

Creator Moira Walley-Beckett, an alum of “Breaking Bad,” got the news while in the wilds of a hiking trail in Ojai, Calif., where she’s on a self-imposed writing retreat.

“I yelped with excitement and startled my dogs,” she said. She was quick to praise Starz for allowing her to do the dark drama in accordance with her vision. “Starz had such faith in the project and they allowed me such creative freedom,” Walley-Beckett said.

In addition to “Flesh and Bone,” Starz grabbed three nominations for drama “Outlander,” including a berth in the drama series race, and a nom for Patrick Stewart in the comedy “Blunt Talk.”

That marks the best Starz showing in prominent categories in the cabler’s 21-year history. For CEO Chris Albrecht, it’s an encouraging sign that the focus on original series is starting to pay off.

Earlier this week Starz set a deal with Amazon to offer streaming access to the mothership channel. Awards recognition can only help raise awareness of Starz at a time when programming services are increasingly becoming un-bundled from larger MVPD subscriptions. That means Starz, like every other premium network, needs marquee shows more than ever.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt,” Albrecht said of the Globes showing. Having served a long tenure at HBO during its initial growth spurt with original series, Albrecht knows what awards hardware can do for a TV brand.

“When you have a (Globes) showing like this, it allows us to say that not only is Starz playing in the big leagues, but it deserves to be there. That’s a statement that is certainly helpful to make in any kind of business discussion,” Albrecht said.

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