While you may or may not know the name Chris Albrecht, there’s a good chance that you are familiar with some of his achievements. Albrecht has been the CEO at Starz for roughly the past decade, and while there he’s responsible for helping to bring some of the network’s biggest hits to television. Think in terms of Outlander and Power first and foremost, as these shows have shattered ratings records for the network and also brought it critical acclaim.
Today, though, it was announced that Albrecht will be stepping down as CEO of the network come March; COO Jeffrey Hirsch and the rest of the network’s current leadership will work alongside Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer moving forward. (Lionsgate purchased Starz back in 2016, and the two companies are going to be integrated more moving forward.)
In a full statement, here is what Feltheimer had to say about Albrecht’s upcoming departure:
“Chris’s renowned programming expertise and entrepreneurial abilities have helped build Starz into a premium global brand distinguished by its great shows, fast-growing direct to consumer initiatives, and expanding international footprint … As we complete the first phase of our evolution into a unified company and accelerate our focus on Starz’s international expansion, Chris has decided to step down to pursue other opportunities. I look forward to working closely with him and Jeff Hirsch to ensure a smooth transition and plan the next steps of the Company’s continued growth.”
We don’t think Albrecht’s impact on the TV industry at large can be understated. Before his presence at Starz, the network was not known for its original programming. Instead, it was perceived more as a niche movie channel that occasionally did have some originals worth watching. Even if it has some work to do in order to catch up with the awards presence of an HBO or a Showtime, the network does now have several substantial hits and many more potentially to come. Power may also lead to a spin-off and beyond that, Outlander should be around for at least two more years, if not more. The next order of business for Starz may be to find some more hit comedies (most of its shows to date in this genre haven’t been met with super-strong ratings) and then also more limited series to compete with HBO and also some other premium-cable networks and streaming services.
We’ll keep watch on what the future will hold for Starz at some point moving forward. For now, though, kudos to Albrecht for all that he did to launch some big hits at the network that it didn’t have before. (Photo: Starz.)