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Starz CEO Chris Albrecht on Emmys process: 'It's not a level playing field'

Albrecht recently spoke about a lack of Emmy nominations for programs airing on Starz. Those behind the Emmy Awards 'should be finding a way to platform the diversity, to have something that reflects this [TV] expansion, and not have what is continually, by these sheer numbers, something that ends up with a longer list of losers and the same number of winners,' he said.

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'Outlander' stars Caitriona Balfe (l.) and Sam Heughan (r.).

Starz

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The Starz network has found an avid audience targeting what its boss regards as "underserved" viewers like women and African-Americans with high-quality series.

But much to Chris Albrecht's exasperation, Emmy doesn't notice.

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"I was part of the team that invented how to campaign for Emmy awards," the Starz CEO told TV writers on Aug. 1 at the Television Critics Association meeting. "Trust me, it's not a level playing field. I spent years inside the TV Academy, working it. It took a lot of money, and there's a certain momentum that goes along with that."

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Starz, which has won audiences and critical acclaim for such series as "Outlander," ''Power" and "Ash vs. Evil Dead," routinely gets the cold shoulder from the Television Academy.

It is happening again this year. Starz' only 2016 Emmy nods amount to four technical nominations.

"We couldn't be more proud of the work that is being done by the people on these shows," said Albrecht. "They are award-worthy. Whether it's an Emmy award or not is not the point."

Albrecht thinks it's the Television Academy that's missing the point, failing to recognize what he called "an unprecedented time in our industry" with an explosion of deserving programs and mushrooming numbers of channels.

The Academy, he said, "should be finding a way to platform the diversity, to have something that reflects this expansion, and not have what is continually, by these sheer numbers, something that ends up with a longer list of losers and the same number of winners.

"I don't worry about that," he insisted. "I know my staff worries about it. I know the people who work on these shows like to see their names included with the names of their peers (at awards time)."

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And sooner or later, there will be a Starz show that breaks through and scores Emmy love, Albrecht predicted. "You won't know which one it is, and all of a sudden it will be the one."

But there won't be a better reason for that show's reception than there would have been for "Outlander" or "Power" or "Survivor's Remorse," he declared: "It'll just be a reason.

"This is all, this is all," he summed up haltingly, trying to find an acceptable way to sum up how he sees Emmy's snubs, "silly."