“Power” is entering its final season, but you would never know if you walked by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night.
Starz pulled out all the stops for its ratings powerhouse “Power,” throwing a massive premiere event, complete with a full-length concert at Madison Square Garden from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and a plethora of his famous friends. The event marked the first-ever TV premiere to be held at MSG, giving Starz the bragging rights of hosting the biggest television premiere of all time.
50 Cent, executive producer and former star of “Power,” was joined by Snoop Dogg, Trey Songz, ASAP Ferg, Fetty Wap, YFN Lucci, A Boogie, Jeremih, Lil Mo, G4 Boyz and more for a two-hour set, featuring hits like “What Up Gangsta,” “P.I.M.P.,” “Birthday Sex,” “Magic Stick” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” which had show creator Courtney A. Kemp dancing on her feet, near director Anthony Hemingway in the audience, while “Power” star Joseph Sikora was taking selfies with fans in their seats. Minutes before 10 p.m., 50 Cent grabbed the mic, quipping, “Alright, enough of this s—. Let’s watch the show.”
Starz screened the first episode of Season 6 immediately after the concert, which had thousands of fans at the iconic New York City arena audibly gasping at the spoilers and shockers. Before doors opened to the after party, 50 Cent took the stage one last time to perform the show’s opening theme song, “Big Rich Town,” with cast members Omari Hardwick, Lela Loren, Naturi Naughton, LaLa Anthony and more on stage. At nearly 11 p.m., the arena emptied out to an after party down the street at the midtown club Second, which welcomed celebrity guests like Ice T and Coco, who arrived after midnight and schmoozed with Kemp.
Most shows well into their run — let alone, the sixth season — are lucky to squeeze out any marketing budget to promote a final season, but Starz made “Power’s” significance to the network crystal clear. Aside from the A-list hip-hop performance and a Madison Square Garden screening, the network also had a Saks Fifth Avenue event and the largest promotional installations in both New York City and Los Angeles with larger-than-life, eye-popping billboards splashed throughout Times Square and along the 405 freeway.
The strong showing of support for “Power” is no mistake. While the flagship show is coming to an end, the world of “Power” is just beginning with multiple prequel spinoffs in the works, including a series featuring Grammy winner and Academy Award-nominated actress Mary J. Blige. Kemp signed a rich multi-year pact with Lionsgate in 2018, securing her future with the network, and 50 Cent inked a deal reportedly in the ballpark of $150 million, marking one of the most lucrative talent deals in premium cable history.
Speaking with Variety at the after party, Kemp was beaming at the over-the-top event. “It’s surreal and I’m very grateful. And simultaneously, I’m really grateful to know that the show performs very well for Starz. We are grateful for the support from the network, and I think we’ve returned that faith,” she said. “I’m also really proud of us because we got ignored for a long time — we were not permitted to make this sort of splash, and now we are.”
As for the A-list concert, Kemp gives all that credit to her “Power” partner in crime, 50 Cent, for pulling it together. In fact, Kemp said 50 Cent had the idea for a Madison Square Garden premiere since the early days of the show airing. “He worked his magic!” she said. “You’ve got to ask him about that.”
The final season of “Power” debuts on Aug. 25.