Starz Chief on Emmys: ‘It’s Not a Level Playing Field’

Chris Albrecht Starz TCA
Stewart Cook/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Starz’s best-regarded shows — including “Outlander,” “Power” and “Survivor’s Remorse” — were shut out when Emmy nominations were announced last month. The network’s CEO Chris Albrecht had some thoughts about that on Monday.

“I don’t think we’ll ever break through with those people on those shows,” Albrecht said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “Look, I was part of the team that invented how to campaign for Emmy awards. Trust me, it’s not a level playing field. I spent eight years inside the TV Academy working it. And it took a lot of money, and there’s a certain momentum that goes along with that.”

Albrecht added that he was proud of the work being done on “Outlander,” “Power” and “Survivor’s,” and said that each merits an award. But he does not expect the recognition to come from the Television Academy.

“It’s a very distinct group of people, no matter how they try to expand their membership base. I think the TV Academy should be celebrating … an unprecedented time for our industry,” he said. “They should be finding a way to platform the diversity, to have something that reflects this expansion and not have what is continually, by the sheer numbers, a reductive process that ends up with a longer list of losers and the same number of winners.”

Starz did receive Golden Globe nominations this year for “Outlander,” “Flesh and Bone” and “Blunt Talk,” but ended up winning in no categories.

“The Globes, I love those people, but they normally never let anybody go home empty handed,” Albrecht said. “We went home empty handed this year. I was really surprised. I was like, ‘Wow, really? That’s a new one. What does that mean? I have no idea.'” He then waved off the topic. “This is all silly.”

Albrecht also addressed Starz’s merger-in-progress with Lionsgate. The studio announced in June that it would buy the premium channel for $4.4 billion.

“From a content point of view, Starz will very much remain on strategy,” Albrecht said. “We’re going to be operating pretty autonomously within that unit, because we bring, no pun intended, the lion’s share of the profits to the combined entity. So what you don’t want to do is mess around with that.”

What the merger will help Starz with, Albrecht added, is attracting talent and leveraging IP.

“Talent is the valuable currency in this business,” Albrecht said. “IP comes from that talent. We will be able to attract more of that valuable currency. We will find more ways to be in business with that valuable currency. And we will get better at monetizing that valuable currency.”