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Starz CEO Chris Albrecht calls Emmys a political game

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Starz CEO Chris Albrecht isn’t one to mince words, as he demonstrated earlier this year when he scolded TV reporters for stoking a so-called feud between his network and rival HBO.

Now, as captured in a new Fortune interview, he’s given a piece of his mind about what’s wrong with the Emmys, how he’s turned Starz into the No. 2 premium network in the U.S. (behind HBO), and what Starz’s unrealized version of Fifty Shades of Grey might have looked like.

With regard to his Emmy gripes, Albrecht recalled meeting with some TV Academy executives after Outlander was snubbed by voters this year.

“They said they had 140 dramas were submitted,” Albrecht said. “I said, ‘How possibly could this group choose seven best nominees from 140 programs?’ They certainly didn’t see 140 programs. The Emmys is not a meritocracy. It’s a game. A political game.”

As for his overall success shepherding Starz since he came aboard in 2010, Albrecht said, “It was not just enough to do shows. I think we really needed to come up with a point of view about where we were serving in the marketplace. How we were differentiating ourselves? That took me awhile to figure out.”

For more from Albrecht, including his thoughts on Fifty Shades, read the full Fortune profile.

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