With an overwhelming amount of content and an array of distribution platforms, the landscape for television has shifted dramatically over the past decade.
Yet, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht is more than well-versed in the television market, because in the decade prior, he was the CEO of HBO and the creative force that has instrumentally shaped what TV looks like today.
Now pair the knowledge of an entertainment industry veteran with that of the rap superstar, actor, businessman and entrepreneur, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and you get a recipe for a pair who could change the industry yet again.
50 Cent may be the household name, but Albrecht is responsible for providing content millions of people to watch in their households. His tenure at HBO is noted for changing the television landscape by creating critically acclaimed series, including Oz, The Wire, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Band of Brothers, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage, along with several other programs.
While the business partnership between music mogul and the media mogul may seem like a new iteration of The Odd Couple, the pair is taking full advantage of the Golden Age of TV. The major success of the Starz crime-drama series Power is testament to this.
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The two linked up and have produced five seasons of the gritty crime-drama, with a sixth on the way. The show has also produced one of the most dedicated fan bases in the social media age.
It was announced last year that 50 Cent signed an exclusive, multi-series and multi-million dollar deal with premium cable network Starz.
According to Variety, the deal is worth up to $150 million. The deal with premium cable channel is with 50 Cent’s production company G-Unit Film and Television Inc., which he founded in 2003.
Both on screen and off, Jackson proves, again and again, that the star can deliver content people want. Indeed, for two decades 50 Cent is one of the most recognized rappers, and his venture into acting and into entrepreneurship (with his stake in Vitamin Water) led his net worth to hit $155m in 2015.
As he continued his commercial success, his record label G-Unit Records, also made him responsible for creating one of the most prolific rap artist/group labels.
The duo sat down for a curated talk at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in December last year. Jackson recalled that when he pitched his series ideas to Albrecht, the star admitted,
“I was essentially requesting the biggest deal in premium cable history.”
During the discussion, 50 explained his reasoning for sticking with the premium cable channel, revealing that it was because of the freedom to develop and produce graphic content. He compared the hit series to creating “ten R-rated feature films.”
In discussing the deal, the Starz CEO Chris Albrecht insisted that he wasn’t just looking to produce a single show with the deal, but a brand. He said,
“The sky is limit when you are in business with this guy,”
For some time now, Albrecht has been dedicated to not just producing new shows but the Starz brand itself. The 58-year-old executive has been formulating and configuring how explicit the content on the premium cable channel needs to be in order to make a significant dent in the market.
While Jackson is reveling at the artistic freedom he can leverage with the premium cable channel, at the same time, Albrecht is trying to formulate content that mediates between the explicit and family friendly.
According to GQ, Starz pays hundreds of millions of dollars each year for the exclusive rights to air movies by the Walt Disney Co., Pixar, and Sony.
On what’s next to come, 50 will make his debut as a director in Power this season and Starz is already developing three spin-offs of its hit series, one of which, includes a prequel orientated around Jackson’s character, Kanan.
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Additionally, 50 Cent is calling on the public for actors for his upcoming series about the Detroit-based BMF drug organization. The rap star announced on his IG that casting for the film will be held in different cities across the nation.
The film, under his production company, G-Unit Film and Television, will be most definitely one of the most highly anticipated films whenever it comes out.
With 50 Cent pushing the envelope with some of the most gripping and graphic content on television, Chris Albrecht will be there making even more game-changing moves that could push the Starz network to the next level. We’ll be watching, that’s for sure.