11:11am PT by Michael O'Connell
Starz Chief Chris Albrecht Shrugs Off Emmy Snubs: "It's Not a Level Playing Field"
If Chris Albrecht is frustrated by Starz's lack of Emmy nominations this year, he's not letting it show.
When the CEO was asked about his network's absence from the 2016 race during his Monday session at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, he all but shrugged — saying that his current roster of critically favored series probably won't find themselves in a position like The Americans anytime soon. "I don't think they'll ever break through," he said, referring to dramas Outlander and Power. "Trust me, it's not a level playing field ... I worked with the TV Academy for years. It took a lot of money."
Albrecht is no stranger to Emmys. His 22 years at HBO coincided with the pay cable network's prestige push, which includes the historic 1999 nomination for The Sopranos and its eventual first win in 2004.
Albrecht's critique of the Academy focused on how it's not keeping up with the surge in scripted programming — one he noted produced a "longer list of losers" and the same number of winners. "I don't worry about it," he said. "My staff worries about it. There will be a show that comes along, and all of a sudden it will be the one. It won't be a better reason than Outlander, Power or Survivor's Remorse."
Starz has not been absent from the awards conversation. It has four craft nominations at this year's Emmys. Also, Outlander broke through at this year's Golden Globes ceremony with three noms. It lost in each category, including best drama series.
"They rarely let anyone go home empty-handed," Albrecht said of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. "We went home empty-handed this year."
Closing the awards portion of the discussion, the exec offered: "It's all silly."