Starz is known for picking up additional seasons of series either before they even air or very early in their runs. Based on CEO Chris Albrecht’s comments at the TV critics’ summer press tour, “Outlander” is likely heading that way as well.
“Look, ‘Outlander’ is, honestly, it’s so good,” Albrecht says with a chuckle Friday (July 11). “I saw episode 8 this morning. You don’t get a chance to work with material like that” very often.
The show, which premieres Aug. 9 (and previews online a week before that), is based on Diana Gabaldon’s series of novels, and that’s part of why Albrecht is excited about the show’s prospects. Not only does it have a built-in fan base — no small thing for a pay-cable channel that doesn’t have the reach of HBO or Showtime — but as Albrecht puts it, it also provides “years of great drama.”
“If the audiences and our subscribers are as interested in it as we think and the fans really get behind it and tell their friends about it,” he says, “I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t continue the same journey that Claire and Jamie … and everybody have had over centuries.”
(Although probably the show won’t last quite that long.)
“When you’re in 22 million homes and you don’t have unlimited resources to market stuff, these presold franchises that have fan bases” are a great way to bring new eyeballs to Starz, Albrecht continues. “I don’t know if you follow the ‘Outlander’ fan sites, but they are so revved up about this that it’s a great opportunity.”
Some simliar thinking was behind Starz opting to develop Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” after HBO dropped the project. Having writers like Bryan Fuller and Michael Green on board to adapt it didn’t hurt either.
“These are two skilled guys who are passionate about the material. They had a take which excited us,” Albrecht says. “… The amount of press we got out of the announcement of ‘American Gods’ is very good news. When you’ve got a team like that and you have a property like that, you go, let’s give it a shot.”