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TCA: Starz's CEO Albrecht Is Bullish On ‘Outlander’ Future

Beverly Hills -- Starz’s new original series Outlander could have a long run on the premium service given the numerous books in the series if viewers back the show, according to Starz CEO Chris Albrecht during the network's Television Critics Association summer tour presentation Friday.

While Albrecht stopped short of announcing a second season of the series, Albrecht said that he likes the show and storyline -- based on the eight-book Outlander series penned by Diana Gabaldon -- and could see the show airing on the network for several seasons. The fantasy-themed series debuts on Starz Aug. 9, but the network will debut the first episode on several TV and online platforms a week earlier including website and Starz's YouTube page.

 “If the audiences are as interested as we think, I don’t see why we couldn’t continue the journey,” Albrecht said.

While the network has been criticized for greenlighting new seasons of shows such as Black Sails early, Albrecht believes that shows need time to grow, and it’s not a problem to greenlight additional seasons if the series shows promise.

“If we like a show maybe we should pick up the next two seasons,” he said. “I’m beginning to think in the world of increased competition, I should worry less about what other people think.”

Albrecht also praised the performance of new shows like its drama series Power and The White Queen, which has helped the network bring in more African-Americans and women respectively. He added that Power, which follows the exploits of a rich night club owner who doubles as a powerful drug dealer, draws the largest concentration of African-American viewers on premium cable networks since HBO’s The Wire.

Albrecht also weighed in on the proposed Comcast/Time Warner and DirecTV/ATT mergers by saying the deals can be a win-win for everyone as long as the companies continue to serve its subscribers well and treat its partners fairly. “It will be critically important that people do not use their muscle to take advantage of their long term partners,” Albrecht said.

He also downplayed the value of putting premium TV shows on OTT services such as Netflix and Hulu, adding that it takes away from the exclusivity value of the network. "It would make life potentially easier for [show] buzz, but there’s something pretty buzzworthy about only finding it here," Albrecht said.