Starz Chief Talks “Black Sails,” “Outlander” Future

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht has suggested that the network is likely to pick up its pirate adventure series “Black Sails” for a third season.

Speaking at the TCA Summer press tour this afternoon, Albrecht says: “I looked at the final episode [of Season 2] the other day and when I finished it… I thought to myself, ‘I need to find out what happens next’… That’s certainly not an official announcement.”

This follows on from a panel in which Albrecht participated with the CEOs of FX and Showtime who discussed the fact that many cable series don’t find an audience until their third season. Albrecht said: “I’m actually doing this wrong. If we like the first season should we pick up the next two… I’m actually beginning to think that, in this world of increased competition, I should worry less about what other people think and more about our belief in… people doing the show. Like I said, when I looked at the end of the [Black Sails’] second season I wanted to know what happens next. So I’m optimistic.”

Starz has come under fire for renewing shows for a second season before the first goes to air, only for said shows to struggle to find an audience in their first season and for the network to essentially dump the second with little fanfare or promotion (eg. “Boss,” “Magic City”). As a result no show on the network, outside of “Spartacus,” went beyond two seasons until this year when “Da Vinci’s Demons” was picked up for a third round.

“Black Sails” actually began filming its second season in November last year, even though the first didn’t go to air until January this year. The show proved a good performer for the network so its second season was a guarantee.

Onto the much anticipated “Outlander” series and Albrecht confirms the premiere will be made available in its entirety for free to viewers through on demand and online channels beginning August 2nd. That’s a week ahead of its TV broadcast on August 9th.

The first eight episodes will air over eight consecutive Saturdays through to September 27th. The remaining eight episodes of the first season will premiere in early 2015.

Albrecht also revealed he offered Universal a three season commitment for a “50 Shades of Grey” TV series, an idea the studio turned down because they saw the property as a film only.