Starz Hopes 'Magic City' Can Cast a 'Mad Men' Spell

By renewing Magic City two weeks in advance of its series premiere on April 6, the premium cable channel is hoping that the 1960s-era drama enchants just as many viewers as AMC’s Mad Men – although, as Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said, sharing the same decade is where the similarities between the two series end.

“I think the characters are totally different; the storylines are totally different. We should have just as much success as Mad Men has had — and we would be thrilled [to have it],” Albrecht said at the premiere screening of Magic City at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York on Thursday night.

The first season, which comprises eight episodes, follows Miami Beach’s Miramar Playa Hotel owner Ike Evans, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as he manages his business and dealings with mob kingpin Ben Diamond, played by Danny Huston. Executive producer Mitch Glazer created Magic City based on his own experiences growing up in Miami Beach.

When asked about the comparison to Mad Men, Glazer said, “I can’t really compare it to anything - it is specific to me,” Glazer said, and that he hoped he can achieve what David Chase achieved with The Sopranos.

The comparisons to Mad Men are not surprising, especially with the series returning to AMC March 25 after a long hiatus. Magic City will have its own series preview following the Spartacus season finale on March 30.

“It’s probably good for us to be close together, because I think people who have an interest in Mad Men will hopefully have an interest in Magic City,” Albrecht said.

An advance renewal is nothing out of the ordinary for Starz (Boss and Spartacus were also renewed prior to their premieres) as “the advantages of premium television are that we can make decisions that others are reluctant to make,” Albrecht said.

The renewal was “a dream” for Glazer, saying it was a “thrilling vote of confidence…truthfully, I want to know what happens.”