Liberty Media’s quest to kick Starz up a notch as an original programmer gets a boost with the hiring of former HBO wiz Chris Albrecht to succeed retiring Bob Clasen. As president and CEO, Albrecht’s portfolio includes Starz Entertainment, Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Film Roman. Albrecht spent more than 20 years at HBO and was credited with a string of successes — among them The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under — during his stint as president of HBO Original Programming. Clasen’s retirement was announced in August but was on hold until Liberty found a successor.
Liberty’s CEO Greg Maffei highlighted Albrecht’s original programming rep in the announcement, saying his “extensive experience and success in creating compelling original content and building a premium pay channel” makes him “uniquely qualified” to lead Starz. (Albrecht may be uniquely qualified but Liberty is also thought to have been talking to Fox vet Peter Liguori, who went in a very different direction by joining Discovery as COO.)
Albrecht became chairman and CEO of HBO in 2002, leaving in 2007 after a domestic dispute went public. He surfaced later that year as the head of a $250 million media and entertainment content investment fund for IMG; the fund fizzled less than a year later. His new role with Starz was first reported by Nikki Finke.