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Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is not happy with Starz.
The prolific producer is threatening to walk away from his deal with the Lionsgate-backed premium cable network, for whom he exec produces the Power franchise and multiple other projects.
The rapper, actor and producer posted multiple images of bags being packed on his verified Instagram account, where he voiced frustration with the renewal for Starz’s Hightown but lack of decision on Power spinoff, Force.
“This is me packing my stuff, Starz. Sucks, my deal is up over here I’m out. They renewed Hightown and Force is the highest rated show they have sitting in limbo. If I told you how much dumb shit I deal with over here,” he wrote. Subsequent posts include images of bags being packed as Jackson posted he wants to “take that fvcking sign off the door no more G-unit film and television over here.”
Sources say Starz, overseen by CEO Jeffrey Hirsch, is in the midst of negotiating a new overall deal for Jackson and wants him to remain with the company for years to come. Jackson’s current overall deal with Starz expires in September. The four-year deal that he signed with former Starz CEO Chris Albrecht in 2018 included a commitment to three series produced by his G-Unit banner. Starz declined comment.
Meanwhile, other sources note that Jackson has received multiple calls from studios and streamers inquiring about rich overall deals should he look to move away from his longtime home at Starz. Reps for Jackson declined comment.
Starz renewed its Monica Raymund-led drama Hightown for a third season on Tuesday. The Cape Cod-set series wrapped its third season in December, which allowed Starz ample time to review the show’s delayed viewership across its multiple platforms before it made a decision about the show’s future.
Force, meanwhile, launched Feb. 6 as the third spinoff in the Power franchise. The eight-episode season does not wrap its run until March 27. Still, Force did set a premiere ratings record for the cabler. The series starring Joseph Sikora (reprising his role from the flagship series) ranks as the biggest premiere audience for any show in Starz’s history with 3.3 million cross-platform viewers. That was bigger than the finales of Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood and breakout Yellowjackets as well as HBO’s The White Lotus.
The Power franchise is the backbone of Starz. Courtney A. Kemp created the franchise with Jackson exec producing spinoffs Ghost, Raising Kanan and Force. Ghost launched in September 2020 and was renewed later that same month. Raising Kanan was renewed for its second season before the show premiered. The series follows the early years of Kanan Stark, the character first played by Jackson in the flagship show. The status of Book V: Influence remains unclear after Starz moved Force up. (Brett Mahoney took over for Kemp as showrunner on season three of Ghost.)
Jackson’s role in the Power franchise has become more important in recent months following Kemp’s defection from her longtime overall deal at Starz for a similar pact with Netflix. Kemp remains an exec producer on all of the Power offshoots but no longer contributes writing services to any of them. The carve-out is similar to what Shonda Rhimes has with Netflix and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
Beyond the Power universe, Jackson has multiple other projects in various stages of development at Starz through his G-Unit Film and TV banner. Jackson exec produces hip-hop anthology A Moment in Time, which has yet to premiere but already has a second season in the works at Starz. Jackson’s passion project, BMF, was renewed for a second season a mere four days after its debut on Starz last September.
This is not the first time that Jackson has taken issue with Starz. The prolific producer called Starz a “shit show” in November after the cabler posted the BMF episode he directed a week early and then pulled it down. Starz blamed the issue on a tech glitch.
There have been a number of changes at Starz in recent years following the ouster of Albrecht as CEO after Lionsgate completed the acquisition of the network. Albrecht clashed with Lionsgate leadership about the direction of the network and was replaced by former marketing exec Hirsch. Albrecht’s longtime programming chief Carmi Zlotnik left shortly afterward, with Hirsh tapping Christina Davis to head originals. Davis left after a mere 13 months on the job and was replaced by Kathryn Busby.
In addition to Kemp, Starz and Lionsgate have seen other top creators decamp for deals elsewhere with Dear White People’s Justin Simien departing for Paramount TV Studios and Run the World showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser (whose credits include Living Single) exiting for ABC Signature.
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