Tag Archives: Outlander

The Breakout Hit ‘Outlander’ is Finally Attracting Women to Starz

Starz Outlander

Game of Thrones isn’t the only highly anticipated returning premium cable program based on a hugely popular book series with a rabid fan base. On April 4, Starz rolls out the second half of Outlander’s debut season. As I wrote at Adweek, the show — based on Diana Gabaldon’s historical/fantasy/romance novels — has finally brought a large female audience to the premium cable network, whose programs have tended to skew male.

And as Starz CEO Chris Albrecht notes, that highly engaged new audience has mobilized into a social marketing army for the network:

“If you go for a certain demo, then you have an audience that not only is going to come to watch the show, but they’re going to be the best marketing and promotional arm you could have,” said Albrecht, who had similar results last summer with Power, which is targeted to African-American viewers. “Because with social media, they’re talking about the show all the time to their friends, trying to get their friends to watch. So Outlander proved one more time that a core group of fans that are pleased are going to be a really powerful tool for the successful evolution of the show.”

The show’s popularity has also helped Starz grow to 23.3 million subscribers, and leapfrog Showtime to become the No. 2 premium network behind HBO.

The Breakout Hit Outlander Is Finally Attracting Women to Starz

Sorry, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ but the Steamiest Sex is on TV, Not in Movies


After months and years of foreplay, the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey has finally arrived. The film is expected to gross as much as $100 million worldwide this weekend as fans of E.L. James’s BDSM-themed trilogy flock to the first sexually-explicit mainstream film in years, but as I wrote at Quartz,

While that might sound like cause for celebration, it’s also old hat to viewers of shows like Starz’s Outlander, which have beat Christian and Anastasia to the punch (or is that paddle?) when it come to embracing and depicting sex in all manner of fascinating, and electrifying, ways. Sorry, Fifty Shades of Grey, but the steamiest sex in mainsteam entertainment fare can now found on television, not in theaters.

An increasing number of cable and internet series, like Outlander, Masters of Sex and Girls, routinely delve into the frank explorations of sexuality that have vanished from mainstream films.

In contrast, R-rated movies have become almost puritanical when it comes to depicting sex. Gone are the years when multiplexes routinely offered scorching films like Body Heat, Basic Instinct or the aforementioned 9 ½ Weeks. As Hollywood turned away from that adult audience and almost exclusively towards franchise films aimed at teenagers—coupled with the ubiquity of porn, which is now only as far away as one’s smartphone—those movies simply stopped being made.

So as you take in Fifty Shades this weekend, don’t forget, you’re missing the real action, back at home on TV.

Sorry, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ but the steamiest sex is on TV, not in movies

TV is No Longer Where TV Series Premiere

TV not where series premeire

Viewers are taking longer than ever to watch TV shows, but when it comes to news series, networks don’t have the luxury of waiting several days or weeks for audiences to sample them and decide whether or not they want to see more. That’s why the pilots for several new series are being released weeks and even months before they premiere. As I wrote at Quartz,

Broadcast networks insist that they now program year-round (and indeed, have been doing just that), but almost all of their biggest shows still debut during the same two-week period in late September and early October. This makes it especially brutal for new shows to find an audience, so the online premieres gives viewers an early opportunity to sample them and, the networks hope, get hooked and start spreading the word before the shows enter the TV equivalent of Thunderdome.

I question whether viewers who watch and like the A to Z pilot will still be interested when the show actually premieres in October, but until the broadcast networks stop premiering all their fall shows in the same two week period, they’ll need all the help they can get.

TV is no longer where TV series premiere

Have We Reached the Saturation Point for Quality American TV Shows?

saturation point for quality

Given the already overwhelming amount of quality TV, does anyone really want to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for even more of it? We’ll start to find out this weekend, as Cinemax premieres The Knick and Starz unveils Outlander. As I wrote at Quartz,

While the series are generating enthusiastic reviews (The Knick in particular), they will likely have a much tougher time drawing audiences than they would have just a couple years ago. Because both Starz and Cinemax are premium channels, sampling those shows means shelling out even more money each month to do so. And for those already on the hook for cable fees—for basic cable, HBO and Showtime—as well as payments for Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, it will be hard to justify the additional expense, particularly given that these networks have little to offer those new audiences beyond that single show.

Even those of us who write about TV for a living can no longer keep up, so it’s hard to believe that too many others can make the time — and find the money — for even more original content. Time is money, and when it comes to quality TV, do we have enough left of either? Starz and Cinemax certainly hope so.

Have we reached the saturation point for quality American TV shows?