Much has been made today of the management changes at Starz Media, which sees the arrival of two longtime Chris Albrecht lieutenants: Carmi Zlotnik becomes Starz’ new managing director, while John Penney (pictured left), was named EVP, strategy and business development at Starz LLC. Both Zlotnik and Penney worked for Albrecht at HBO and again at IMG Global Media. Albrecht arrived at Starz in December.
Bill Hamm, Starz Media’s EVP of production and development, is departing the company in the wake of these changes.
“Carmi and I have worked together for most of the last 20 years, so I know him to be an executive who has always demonstrated a terrific instinct for the creative as well as the nuts and bolts of production,” said Albrecht in a statement. “His wealth of experience, coupled with his close working relationships with many talented producers, will be invaluable for Starz moving forward.”
“Similarly, I have known John for many years, dating back to our days at HBO; he has a wealth of traditional and new media and technology experience which will be extremely helpful as we build Starz into a more multi-dimensional media company,” Albrecht added.
Deadline.com and The Wrap both attributed the changes to both men’s long working relationships with Albrecht. All three men labored together at HBO, developing and delivering such iconic shows as The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
Hamm, who’s been Starz’ programming chief for the past three years, has had success at the network, developing original series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Party Down, one of TV’s best but least-viewed comedies.
Deadline also reports that other programming executives are likely to follow Hamm out the door.
According to The Wrap’s Joe Adalian, under the new structure Albrecht will look for new talent and properties for Starz, while Zlotnik will oversee production, keeping financials in line and trains running on tracks. Penney is a business strategy guy, who will develop new business opportunities and look for ways to expand the company.
It’s to be expected that an aggressive, experienced executive such as Albrecht, tasked with turning Starz into the next HBO, would bring in his own team.
Starz is working on expanding its original programming slate with such projects as new series Camelot and a mini-series based on Ken Follett’s epic The Pillars of the Earth. Albrecht also is working with Ben Silverman’s new-ish company, Electus, on two international productions.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.