Photo: Starz, Jamie, The Wedding Episode
An article was released by Hollywood Reporter yesterday, in which Starz COO (that’s Chief Operating Officer, not coo ?, for you Scots), Jeffrey Hirsch, is quoted talking about Starz’ new focus on what it’s calling the “Premium Female.” I have been watching the fan reaction, and feeling my own, and felt compelled to write this (opinion!) piece…
Excerpts: “Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch made his debut at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour and subtly unveiled a new direction for the premium cable network formerly fronted by CEO Chris Albrecht.”
“When we dug deeper, we learned it was premium women who were driving the service. We’ve started to lean into that. Everything we do now has to service that kind of programming mandate.”
Q: So what’s “premium women”?
“…A little older — probably 24-54 and a little more economically viable than other segments, in terms of broadcast. They really like high scripted drama, great women in history and a lot of IP [intellectual property]. You look at the audience for Outlander and that’s the perfect audience for us.”
I’m a little confused here, on several levels, and, I want to approach this in a compassionate way. After all, Chris Albrecht, the man who was instrumental in bringing us Outlander in the first place, just stepped down as CEO of Starz in March of this year, leaving an empty seat for that role, and Jeffrey Hirsch at the helm, as COO. That’s only 4 months, so this really is this guy’s debut in this role. Hirsch, 43, was originally hired as president of marketing and product development, in 2015, and before that worked for Time Warner, eventually managing sales, marketing, customer care, and operations. Maybe he doesn’t realize that Premium Females read these press releases? ?
OK, First point: I have 3+ years of demographic data from the almost 3.5 million views on my site that tells me the largest demographic of my site, (which may or may not be a microcosm of the whole fan base), is age 55-64. Age 24 is in the group with the lowest viewership, as a matter of fact, with 65+ using my site almost 5 times more than anyone in the 24-year-old age group. Hmmmm. Makes me wonder what their demographic age range actually is. Do they even collect data on people above the geriatric age of 54? ?
Second point: My understanding is that Chris Albrecht’s original vision was to serve existing fan bases with Starz Originals. This is a quote from Ron D. Moore from a 2014 interview with Variety:
Moore: “We were on the same page from the very beginning; I wanted to do a very faithful adaptation of the book. And they said ‘we want you to do a very faithful adaptation of the book,’ which is kind of remarkable, actually.”
“…And Chris said to me, ‘make this show for the fans and trust that anyone who’s not a fan will be swept up in the story the same way all the readers were.’ And I was like, “yes, sir!” It was just great. That’s exactly what you hope that they’re going to do.”
Chris Albrecht knew that Diana had sold around 15+ million books at the time of this deal, and I have to believe he would’ve done his homework on the demographics. In this interview, Mr. Hirsch makes it sound like this is a recent and amazing discovery, and that now, they need to “lean into” this knowledge by making awesome female centric shows (read: more Super Claire ?and Not Quite Jamie ?). Maybe not, but, that’s where my mind went first.
More from Hirsch:
Q: Still, it’s such a shift [the focus on Premium Female] because so much of what that network [Starz] was built on was male-focused content like Spartacus and Black Sails.
Hirsch: “Spartacus actually skewed female. Black Sails was a little more balanced and skewed more male. But Spartacus was female characters manipulating the men around the board. Power is 65 percent female. If you look at the show, on the surface, it’s a good-looking African American drug dealer trying to get out of the trade and it’s a gangster male show. But the real core of that is it’s a soap opera with a love triangle.”
Did I just read soap opera with a love triangle, and “female characters manipulating the men around the board” is what Hirsch perceives the Female Premium is craving???
Q: As you reassess your programming slate, turning your back on a critically beloved show like Counterpart — which has a 100 percent score for both seasons on RottenTomatoes.com — seems questionable. Was that decision based purely on the fact that it was a male-focused show?
“Justin Marks is a great writer. I’d love to find something else we can do together…. It was very complicated and there’s nothing wrong with being complicated. But to a certain extent, part of my view on the world today is for the most part people’s lives are tough and when they come home at night and want to escape their lives, they want to be able to get into a piece of content very easily and escape.”
More Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! This has “intellectually lazy” written all over it. That’s not who we Premiums and Premiums + waaaaant!
Repeat of above gif…
“What we have seen with our Spanish Princess/White Queen series is great women in history play really well for that audience [Premium Female]. We’ll lean into that as a quasi-genre. Outlander you can say that it’s great because women like it because she’s a surgeon who goes back in time but there’s also another side of that, which is there’s some eye candy for that audience and people like when he has his shirt off. You have to be really thoughtful about when you’re looking at a piece of content and whether it’s really going to be female or not. And it’s not easy.”
<hang on, I am speechless>
OK. I can’t really even address that last comment. I am still speechless.
More from Mr. Hirsch:
“The other show on Netflix that’s really performing well is Outlander. The nice thing about being in a creative industry is it’s not just you can go buy all the creativity and keep it from other people. There’s always a fresh voice. Part of the reason why we’re leaning into this underserved audience and female focus is because others aren’t. At the end of the day, we want to be a complement to those other services with a very unique programming strategy. And we’ve been really successful to date and I think we will continue to be.”
Maybe it’s just me, but does it almost feel like Jeffrey sees himself as a philanthropist??? Serving the underserved older ladies (with the big pocketbooks). ?
Mr. Hirsch Regarding Outlander on Netflix:
“The Outlander deal was a Sony deal that was done before I got to Starz; I would not have allowed that to happen. It’s the ying and the yang from a business perspective of taking the short-term money and building great, long-term enterprise value. And if I put my straight business hat on, from a shareholder perspective, building great enterprise value is the most important thing. We made a decision as Lionsgate… that we are going to all service to Starz, domestically and internationally, and will make a big run at it.”
Did he just…
throw the very accomplished Chris Albrecht, who actually built HBO and Starz into what they are today, under the proverbial bus? ?
Mr. H did include a comment about the release date of Outlander, saying it was always intended to be next year…
Q: Outlander is not returning until 2020. Is that to allow Starz to reset and use it to kick off a new push for “premium women”?
Hirsch: “It was always going to be next year, actually, just based on production schedules and such. We really like where we fit it in, in terms of that audience tradeoff [with Power]. It will [return] earlier in the year.”
In conclusion: This article does not leave me feeling optimistic about getting the deeply layered, more balanced Jamie and Claire that many of us Premium Women, and some of you Really Old (55+) ?Women crave. Maybe we can get a kind message to Mr H., letting him know that Outlander, for us, is so much more than a female surgeon going back in time, to be with a great piece of eye candy.
So much more.
My advice: Go back to Season 1, Mr. Hirsch, to see what we Premium Babes with all the spending money like. It’s all there….
What say you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. ***PS This is not an invitation to bash Mr. Hirsch, who is undoubtedly someone’s son, husband, father, brother, etc., and is doing his best. If you need to, take a moment, and then comment. Sending you my best, always. xo
For the full article: Hollywood Reporter
****Please see my response to my response to Jeffrey’s interview ? Dear People Who Make This Show We Love. ******
Source: Hollywood Reporter
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Yes, yes, and yes! Do you have said it all! And eloquently and elegantly as usual! Fingers crossed they don’t make a total mess of season five and yes I would sign on to anything you would like to write in this regard!
Mr H, are you another COO who has not spend the time to watch OL series from S1. Sam Heughan is much more than a fantastic chest. He is a true artist of his craft. But for some reasons he gets very little accolades. He acting is phenomenal. I have read all the books several times. DG is a wonderful writer. Having Sam and Cait in my mind as I am reading the books again makes the reading more interesting. Please giver OL the attention it deserves. BTW. I am 70 and looking forward to many more seasons.
I really hope and yes pray that Starz COO will LISTEN. Listen to the people who can articulate what Outlander is for them. LISTEN to what made season 1 so good that viewers have rewatched it happily multiple times and will continue to do so ( but not the same as seasons 2 thru God awful 5).
He just needs a little education. I am 72. I was thinking back to season 1 and how it was so completely different from any other show. Everything about it was so elevated. From the writing to the acting to the production values. It was a revelation! Like when the Beatles came on the scene.
Excuse me. Hard to talk with jaw on floor and hands atremble. Wanna slap him upside the heid.
Thank you for your usual excellent reporting and writing.
Just like you, Courtney,I had to sit back and reflect on what I just read!. Couldn’t believe what I was reading and was becoming more incensed with everything Mr. Hirsch said. Eye candy,all we want is for Sam to take his shirt off… REALLY!!!!! We watch to see these great characters Diana has created, come to life on our TV screens. I’m disappointed he’s against Outlander being on Netflix,since,from what I can tell,has added a numerous amount of people,who have joined the fandom. That to me is wonderful news, which hopefully will propel Starz to take Outlander to a Season 10! Fingers crossed ?
Here is my point. 15+ million copies sold without “eye-candy”. When I read I don’t picture Jamie walking around without his shirt. I do question his sanity for always saving a crisis-prone Claire! Lol. Saying women want drama and eye-candy and an escape detracts from him saying we also want “intellectual property”. This thinking by men is why women have a glass ceiling to bust through.
Patti, you nailed it!
You’ve said all that needs to be said. Millions of us ‘premium’ women loved the books way before being given eye candy. Perhaps this guy should read the books before he digs himself a bigger hole.
Amen! In 1992 when I read the first book, I may have been in his “premium” women category but I guess to him I am now in the relic category. Sam and Cait personified the Jamie and Claire that I envisioned all those years ago. Starz did not create the fandom and should be wary of straying too far from DGs creations in their filming.
Bingo, Deborah, that is what I was trying to say. The fandom is already HERE. That’s why they did the project in the first place. They don’t have to lean in anywhere, just remember that, listen to the fandom about what we want, and do that: the characters in the books and the story, adapted to screen. Pretty simple. No contrived strong woman/ eye candy formula necessary.
Wonder how old this idiot is??? Obviously hasn’t been around the block many times – if at all. Thinks he knows women – HA!!
Yeah, Susan. I was incredulous. I trust you have seen Diana’s reply? The main thing I want, knowing that Sony and Starz both review and give input into the scripts, is for someone there to “get” it. And not push down the strong woman agenda. Just keep the characters in character, and all will be well! (my opinion)
If the new boss of Starz has any smarts. He should already know how loyal the Outlander fans are. He has a proven series and would be foolish to change the production in any way!
My Reply is “Don’t Mess With My Outlander”. Oh I’m 73 just for the record.
I agree with you…I’m 71, have read 5 books of the Outlander series so far…(I’m a late comer) and have all the DVD’s. I don’t watch just for Claire, she actually aggravates me very often…….. I watch for Jamie, whether he has his shirt on or off, because I love the character.
I agree… I’m 69, have read all the books, (another late comer).. I have all the DVD’s and Claire annoy’s me a LOT, not in Season 1 but more and more until Season 4 and she became everyone’s ‘Bossy Mother’ including Jamie’s !
I Love Jamie, the Character, Shirt on and Shirt off… ‘so what’ and I Love the ‘Story’ in all it’s complexities.
I watch the TV Series for the same reason’s, and the Scenery, Costumes, wonderful Cast, Music, Cinematography, History etc.. etc…
I think this….. COO… must be very near sighted!!
I concur and I’m 72!
put Mr H’s email address , home address and phone number and let all of us outlander fans email and call him..
and ladies don’t Fogel to put your age to show this guy how strong us 60+ ladies are and what OUR purchasing power is.. I am 62 own all books and several t shirts
I’m so glad to see that it wasn’t just me who found his comments so insulting.
What makes OL so amazing (and resistant to repeat-viewing) is the high quality of all elements of the production!
Take for example an episode such as S1-16…it is the combination of the incredibly writing; the brilliant staging; the thoughtful direction and the staggering acting that makes it such a powerful episode. It is the psychology that the multi-layered production encompasses that makes it so good.
It is the intimacy between the characters (willing, or unwilling in some cases) that make the sex scenes special. And ‘special’ has many different facets depending who you are talking about… Claire & Frank; Claire & Jamie; Jamie & BJR, Jamie & Mary; Jamie & Lady G;Brianna & Roger etc. etc…
Yes, Sam Heughan & Caitriona Balfe and both beautiful to watch but to belittle their and the entire production teams efforts to that of parading them as eye candy is utterly ignorant!
I so agree
Well said Stephanie! x
YES! Well said!
I am 74.
To be sure, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe are beautiful well put-together people and humans (male or female) do appreciate beauty.
When I watch Outlander, I see a man (Jamie) with whom I would have loved to have a relationship, not necessarily sexual but with the caring, the tenderness, the appreciation, the devotion, the loyalty, and the vulnerability shown by Jamie toward Claire, it would have made my life, (which is probably nearing its end). a wonderful one to look back on.
I believe that we have all fallen in love with Jamie Fraser (I know I have) and the reason is because Sam plays the part so well.
In all my years, I can’t remember an actor who has played a part as well as he has played Jamie Fraser. Every emotion he shows, the body language, facial expression and speech, becomes so real to me that I feel I am there, part of the story. They add depth to the characters. I don’t see how anyone could not recognize the extreme talent shown in the torture scene. It was so real to me that I try to avoid watching it again.
I am sorry that Mr Jeffrey has not been able to recognize the outstanding quality of the Series, the Production team, and the Actors and that someday he will realize he “Missed The Mark”.
Premium Females – Balderdash.
Mr Jeffrey, you insult me !!
Thank you, Ms Johnson, for speaking for the people who are shunned in the western world. There are a lot of us! We have lives and experience and wisdom thereof to share. We also are still very capable of celebrating the body divine. We are capable of sharing other’s lives on the screen. After all, humans wrote the stories. We also have a bit of money to spend on, perhaps, a premium channel to enjoy these stories. Thank you, Ms Johnson.
I’m sorry. I forgot to add that I am 71
Yes! I’m 74, have all the books and have loved the Starz productions.
This Mr H sounds like a vacuous misogynist who can’t see past his gonads. Women who INVEST their money do not function solely on sex hormones or are let their twat choose their entertainment. This may come as a surprise but we are actually attracted to intelligent men who view love relationships with an open mind despite all the paternalistic programming they receive from birth onward. Jamie is so much more than “eye candy”. What we attracted to are his moral compass and dedication to his family and honor. To women who have read the novels or watched the tv series. He RESPECTS women, unlike Mr H who sees us only as targets that he judges through the eyes of a man who objectifies women and stupidly figures, through his male myopia, that’s what we do to men. With this 1950s attitude, he will only navigate STARZ to David Jones’ locker. (A”non-premium” 67 year old woke woman who pays his bills)
Amen sister! 68 year old here who has loved Outlander since the first book and is terribly afraid this dolt is going to ruin it!
And I would bet my life savings that he thinks he is so pro-woman and so evolved because he is “leaning into” programming to “service this female audience”!
Well said, indeed Cathy! From another 65+ fan!
Agree with Cathy what a way to describe this amazing show with “a nurse that goes back throughout time and eye candy”
It is so much more than that and has he actually seen the series and who put him in this position as he has no idea.
Cathy McCarthy…..bullseye! ?
Wow, so many thoughtful replies. I read the first book traveling for business and have read them all in the almost 300K miles I logged as an executive in the technical field. I did not buy books at the airport for the half-clothed man on the cover. Mr. H might consider that content is far more important. At 65+ I subscribed to Starz only for Outlander. I have watched a few other shows but have not found anything that has a storyline I enjoy. While Jamie maybe “eye candy”, it is his relationship with Claire that makes the story. I have my own age-appropriate eye candy at home who is every bit as respectful and giving as Jamie. And he does the laundry! I am concerned that with Mr. H at the helm, not only will Outlander go in a different direction from the books, but Starz will fail. With this kind of misguided leadership, guess it is time to sell STRZA
Same here! 63 yrs. Have read 8 books several times and have also read the Lord John series. Love Diana G.’s writing. Of course both Sam and Cait are easy on the eyes, but it’s the story that drives me. I also subscribe to STARZ solely for Outlander. Once it’s done, I will no longer be a subscriber
Given the COO’s high regard for the viewers the thinks he “knows” (Read sarcasm), would it not be interesting to see what happened should we “premium” female viewers cancel now, and see how he enjoys us then. Hell, he may even cancel the series (he’s done that before). Maybe another station would pick up the banner program that is OL. I can use my 62 year old “premium” money to buy DVD versions of OL, so no great loss given the angle they are taking, but gain $15 a month in the wallet. The books have been on my shelves for years
Well said! Mr Hirsch sounds like a complete idiot who has NOT looked at any demographics or done his homework. And for the record, I am well over age 54!!
Beautifully said! My first thought was that I had been completely disrespected, once again. I would bet that the man has not read even a word of the books. From the lack of intelligence he displayed in the article (“ying” – really?!), total ignorance of psychology, and misogynistic lack of empathy… it does frighteningly appear that he is planning to dumb down Outlander and eliminate any hope of bringing more shows with depth of character and intelligence to the screen. I REALLY hate to lose the show, but I will not watch a ruined version. I rest in the knowledge that I will always have the books and Diana, thank God, is brilliant and prolific. I pray that the man does not completely disrespect her.
And, by the way, I am also well above 54.
Agreed. Well said. I love Outlander for all those same reasons. A love that has challenges, are overcome, the life long respect & thoughtfulness they all have for each other. It’s profound and we are drawn to it. So many stories lack this.
Agreed. Well said. I love Outlander for all those same reasons. A love that has challenges, are overcome, the life long respect & thoughtfulness they all have for each other. It’s profound and we are drawn to it. So many stories lack this.
I prefer UltraPremium Women for those of us over 54.
Cathy, He’s 43, and just talking the biz lingo, but we need someone at Starz who knows what the real deal is. Thanks for your comment. –C
Good grief! This is so disheartening. He is so disconnected. Do you want to really capitalize on the fanbase Mr. Hursch? Stay true to the spirit of the books. Jamie’s story as told by Claire.
Exactly Kirsten, no fancy formula needed, it’s as transparent and simple as that.
I love your assessment and believe you are correct in your estimation of the *vacuous misogynist” as Cathy McCarthy so astutely called Mr. Hirsch. I think he woefully underestimates and miscalculates why we Premium + women (I am 64) love Outlander. It is the emotional maturity, honesty, and openness of Jaime AND Claire that we love. If we only wanted eye-candy we could find that somewhere else. What a putz.
Linda, Yes. I hope they hear us.
Well Mr. Hirsch sounds a bit like a moron. Premium women? “A bit older – probably 24-45”! Older than what? Children? And what demographic has that wide a range of women? Where are the 55+ geriatrics in his scheme? He was “calling it female centric , but not trying to be Lifetime”. Later he makes a reference to male centric movies. What are they trying to be? WWF? Europe likes their shows “because it’s so female and it’s counter programming against sports”! How about the recent World Cup? And OMG “women like it because she’s a surgeon who goes back in time”! Seriously? Is that the best explanation he can produce for the popularity of Outlander? Eye candy? How about brilliant acting? Well I stand corrected, Mr. Hirsch is hugely moronic. God help STARZ.
If it turns into Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel, I’m out. Gone. Back to the books and the first four seasons. I’m a historian (a real one). Outlander hooked me on that–Diana’s great research on some things I hadn’t really focused on, which caused me to do more research on my own! And yeah, he’s a mysogynistic idiot who has kinda misread his data. BTW, Black Sails was one of my favorites–because it was based nicely on history and had a great story. Keep Outlander faithful to its roots (I don’t mind tweaks needed for continuity in a one-hour episode–I don’t want to see everyone sitting merrily around the fire for hours to “get it.” I love that they brought back Murtagh. But don’t mess around with the basics!!!!!!
Wonderful to hear from a real historian, Nate! ?
I have read the books and loved them I also wish the writers would follow the books. I think this is why Season 4 was NOT THE BEST. Fingers crossed for Season 5
I wonder if he’s ever watched the show? From his comments, I would guess NOT.
Hahahahaha Nancy, I know it’s not funny, but your comment made me laugh. Diana has spoken, hopefully someone over there is listening…
The guy lost me when he used the phrase “lean in” multiple times in one interview.
Condescending industry suit.
Yes, Courtney, please count me in on any feedback as well. Dude, just stick with the story. It already has “premium women’s” seal of approval. ?
You are spot on! Mr. Hirsch is so disrespectful to Sam, Diana’s amazing story and us fans in general. I am now so concerned about Season 5 if this is the view from the powers that be.
How soon can STARZ bump this dolt back out into the marketplace? Has he not seen Season 4. Does he not know it is considered a flop by the viewers he now calls “premium women.” And the reason “we” consider it a flop is the destruction of the book Jamie. Plus turning the Claire character into a very unlikeable woman. How long does he think we will pay to watch that dribble? He’s a “numbers” guy and has no business with the artistic side of STARZ. My question: can Diana sue STARZ for one of the greatest “bait & switch” I have ever seen. It could cost her sales of future books about Jamie and Claire. Bet this guy buys Playboy magazines for their articles.
hahahaha Carolyn, you guys are cracking me up. Yes, that is the point. Season 4 was like a limp sausage compared to the other seasons, unfortunately, and this guy is thinking “Hey, we’re onto something here!” Drrrrrrr.
Everyone else has eloquently said what I was thinking. What a f**king moronic idiot! GAH! SOMEONE go lock him in a room with all 4 seasons & don’t let him out until he’s done! (Leave him a chamber pot to use ?)
hahahahaha Oh my gosh. I have been crafting these pieces then doing my “it’s summer mom job” and checking SM here and there. You guys are verra entertaining. I love the chamber pot idea! ?
I agree with you 100%!!! 64 here, and the writing and sets and performances, everything was top notch!!!!!! I live alone and spend my money the way I want. I CHOOSE to pay for the STARZ app, but will stop if/when Outlander does.
What a bunch of baloney! We watch for Jamie Fraser. PERIOD. They have destroyed the story. If Season 5 continues in this vain, I will stop and I WILL cancel my StarZ subscription because their Premier women bull makes me want to barf and I DON’T WATCH ANY OF THEIR SHOWS, because they are horrible.
Hope that Catriona and Sam don’t read that interview. It is very discouraging to see a top executive express such a narrow-minded opinion.
Hi Diane, something tells me they deal with these types often enough now that they would probably brush it off (I hope).
This man has insulted a lot of people today and not just fans. If he doesn’t get a handle on “real” marketing tone and “production” smarts soon, I think Starz will deeply regret having lost Mr Chris Albrecht, a man of vision and wisdom when it came to building Starz and knowing his market. Not to mention his skills in communications.
But this man has literally insulted the Starz foundation; actors, production, executives, authors, directors and fans. He did a great job and covered just about everyone who ever cared about the Outlander story and the production of the show: the love of the talent it takes to produce such a show and the talent it takes to write such an epic saga.
My age is well about the 55 threshold. I’ve been in executive positions in business and I love history. I have even written a few minor historical novels of my own. I have loved every Outlander book written and enjoy the Outlander TV series immensely. I admire the writer behind the saga and the actors and production people behind the show. Please do not insult them. For that matter, please do not insult me!
Hear hear Jill. I’ll say one thing for him, he is efficient! He managed to insult the fan base, the actors, the producers and the author, all in one paragraph!
One issue, from what I read, is that the idiot “never would have” picked up Outlander to begin with! So because he doesn’t / didn’t like the show “personally ” he is insulting everyone connected with it….right down to the author Herself, DG!!!! I am soooo happy she replied with her usual snark, and gave him, what in my world is called, a verbal b**ch slap!
Courtney, you said it. Now what can we DO about it?
Becky, I think letting Sony and also the CEO of Lions Gate know how people feel is a good start. I will do some homework on contact information for these guys.
yes, please do!
As a post 64 year old fan- financially & emotionally solvent, professional, happily married and at the top of my game- lets tell Mr. Hirsch: Sir, it’s the banter between two mature, deeply loving marrieds that holds my attention- not ‘super Claire’- been there done that- AND it takes a terrific man to be equal to that relationship that is timeless and satisfying. It is the integrity of a ‘healthy’ loving relationship showcased against an historically challenging and actual , real storyline. People who could be my ancestors…. Its about a man who inspires a woman who inspires a man-to both rise to brilliance. That Scotland is so beautiful, is not lost on me , a landscape architect and devotee of place creating culture. We 65+ gals who have created out lives in artistry and beauty are more numerous than obviously the STARZ leadership gets. It’s time for a grey panther reunion
Still trying to wrap my head around little man hirsch’s concept of OUTLANDER. All above comments reiterate my own opinion. Sam & Caitriona need to move on after contracts expire. I look forward to seeing &supporting their careers. I have the books & don’t need to line the pockets of STARZ . I can visualize Sam and Caitriona as Jamie and Claire. I don’t need STARZ. I DUMPED STARZ AFTER S4. It was revealed that hirsch was marketing &promotion before co. That explains why the show was never promoted respectfully.
fully agree with you, Laura! my sentiments exactly. The fact Jamie can live with and love a strong woman means he is the unique character here.
The “Chris” that Ron Moore quoted may possibly have been Chris PARNELL, not Albrecht.
Hmmm, that’s a good point Connie. I will see if I can verify that. I do know Chris Albrecht was very involved. Case in point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT4JkEqBXxU – I will do a little more homework and see if I can find out for sure to which Chris he was referring! x
Well,,,, who knows what the new guy will bring, I do think some of his comments are tacky and he should’ve consulted PR to write his speech… But let’s put it in industry perspective:
— EVERY platform is producing content geared at women, more mature women too and I’m glad. There’s enough programming geared to the teen bracket.
— Demos? There’s a lot of women watching OL who may not be the tried and true fans, aka: they aren’t following you and a part of your demo. STARZ is trying to attract women to all their shows because they want to make women their no. 1 demo.
— As far as “eye candy” (a term I despise) you know well how many women tune in to watch Sam. Look at how they drool on SM. Those EW covers…you have to acknowledge that. (I didn’t say like.)
–RE his comment re: Netflix, some industry talk of Netflix not being a favored distributor because Netflix has so much content that what’s on N. gets lost in the shuffle…. (shrug) A point.
Let’s not assume the worst of the OL producers just because of what he says. All execs use the same ‘speak’ about “serving audiences.”
–You may be alienated, but you are claiming everyone is in your headline. That hasn’t happened yet. Let’s see the show first, judge later. Thank you
Thanks for your comment.
– I agree, tacky and off the cuff, he needs to do more homework before a press conference.
– I agree, I never understood gearing content toward teens, but I think it may refer back to a time when adults spent much less time being entertained.
– That’s true. My demographic may not be a microcosm for the show’s demographics (which I stated in the piece). My site tends to attract the tried and true.
– Regarding the eye candy – I know almost every woman who watches finds Sam, as Jamie, and for many – Sam as Sam, extremely attractive, and some float photos of him out there on SM daily, with things like “yummy” in the comments. I do not think the only reason even those women watch is for “eye candy.” I think they watch for more reasons, and they just happen to bond over the appreciation and sharing of naked Sam. Grabbing the eye candy common denominator to summarize the show is definitely going for the lowest common denominator, and I think a Starz exec should have more of a clue.
– I think his Netflix comment is about (this is an assumption): Sony did that deal with Netflix early on, so Starz doesn’t get any revenue from what Netflix streams, but I think it’s short sighted, because if you offer Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix and get them hooked, then you require them to come to Starz for Seasons 3 and 4 (which Starz is doing). Seems like a win to me. I found his comment a little short sighted. But I think there is a move to owning and distributing content (Netflix is doing a lot of this, for example).
-He doesn’t represent the producers in any way to me. He represents the network, or the studio. The network (both Sony and Starz) actually has input into the scripts for the show (please see this piece by Diana on script process: https://www.facebook.com/175126332530211/posts/953818047994365/), and as such, they also influence the show to fit in with their overall “theme” of strong women, which I think hurts the final product.
-My headline says “Starz COO Alienates Outlander “Premium Females” with Latest Press Release” not “Starz COO Alienates All Outlander “Premium Females” with Latest Press Release.” I wrote that title after reading many many comments on SM by offended Premium and Premium + Outlander fans. I would never assume that my viewpoint represents the viewpoint of all.
– I have hope for Season 5. Always hopeful. Thank you too.
Thank you for saying this so much better than I can. I felt his comments were not well thought out and demeaning to the fan base, Sam and Diana’s books. I can only hope that Maril and Ron can set him straight. Also season 5 has already been in the works before he was left in charge so I’m hoping he doesn’t mess it up. Time will tell.
I am 74 years old have read all of the Outlander books, watched all season of Outlander so many time. I watch this series because of Jamie and Claires love story. Sam is as great if an actor as Cait is. That is what makes this series so good as well as all of the other great actor’s attached to this show.
There is more to the Jamie and Claire story then Claire falling through the Stones and Jamie just taking his shirt off. Mr Hirsh doesn’t give Sam much credit for his acting skills if he thinks that is all he brings to the series. If this is what Mr Hirsh feels, Outlander will be ruined for all of the fans!!
I would suggest Mr Hirsh read the books and talk to aithor before turning this series into a program for 24-54 age women!!
IF OUTLANDER GOES………SO GOES STARZ……and we at all ages LOVE Jamie/Sam.
Does he not realize that men also watch Outlander? My husband one Sunday afternoon put on Starz, on demand, and put on Outlander season 1, episode 1! He has watched every episode of the show – usually with me, but one time, I was attending the Outlander Convention in Las Vegas last summer (we were living there) and he watched the Faith episode. He said “ you didn’t warn me”.
Courtney, you have addressed this issue eloquently. Mr. Hirsch naievely has no idea what a gem the Outlander story is and how loyal readers and fans are to Diana’s beautiful crafted stories and characters. And we watch Starz only for the adaptation by quality actors, costuming and sets. I subscribe to Starz only for Outlander episodes then unsubscribe. I’m a 66 year old woman and way out of the Starz demographic Hirsch wants to attract. Spoil Outlander and I no longer have a need for Starz.
You said it all for me. Referring to Jamie/Sam as “eye candy” just shows he has no clue about the show, the books, or most of the fans he is leaning into.
Mr. Hirsch just doesn’t have a clue, does he? I’m 71, have read all the Outlander books, and seen all seasons of the series. While there have been some changes in the series, they have not been unreasonable.
However, Mr. Hirsch had best not take that tone with me or anyone I know. It is disrespectful and I certainly know how to cancel my STARZ subscription.
So first of all I read COO as in heilan coo – you know Scots for cow. Laughed a little at my self. Okay now for my reaction to Mr. H – I’m relatively sure that he doesn’t really understand women – esp the fans of Outlander. I’m betting he’s never read the books. The books haven’t been so popular because Jamie was great eye candy but because they portray a wonderful and deep relationship in a real life kind of way. The fact that it’s in the past only adds to the sense of adventure. And yeah, he most definitely threw Chris Albrecht under the bus. I worry for the future of Outlander and Starz under the his leadership. I think he just doesn’t get it – period. Your article was well done. Thank you.
Loved all the comments & the equally passionate responses & while none of you are wrong, neither is Mr H (in my opinion ). Where he’s gone wrong is to voice it in such a crude manner. He obviously doesn’t appreciate that book OL fans are usually in the more mature age group whilst the primarily tv show fans would be a younger demographic and I defy any woman not to appreciate Sam’s obvious male beauty, the fact that he’s a phenomenal actor as well isn’t what you see first. Mr H needs to get to know the fans first & perhaps take lessons in how best to talk to them as thinking adults & not cuts of meat.
I read the article and was stunned. You have summed it up brilliantly. I am 71 and LOVE Outlander for Diana’s character development. I’ve been looking forward to seeing all her books on the screen some day, but I would not be interested if Jamie is going to be reduced to simply “eye candy”. I would respectfully suggest this man read the books. Or these comments, at the very least! Since Starz and all the premium channels are basically looking for our money, I would like to say this: I subscribe to Starz BECAUSE of Outlander. If Outlander is ruined, I will no longer subscribe to Starz. Period!
Absolutely agree, don’t insult the Outstanding Actor, Sam Heughan, and don’t insult the Loyal Fan’s of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander”… we.. “Premium Woman” all know how easy it is to cancel our STARZ Subscription. and go buy the DVD’s instead.
…just saying… 🙂
Jeffrey Hirsch proved he is tone deaf with these comments. I know the majority of us have jaws that hit the floor when we see pics of Sam….he’s a total dreamboat, but we also respect his acting chops. To reduce him to “eye candy” is extremely disrespectful. I fear Outlander won’t be renewed after S6….between the train wreck that was S4, what I have heard of script re-writes for S5 and now this…..the fans who have been superb supporters are losing faith. And fast. I don’t think Starz is doing the show justice any longer, and I’d be happy if it were picked up by another network or streaming service who will appreciate the fantastic content and skill of its cast/crew.
Courtney – you did a tremendous service bringing this to our attention. Thank you.
As a recently retired banking professional, I didn’t know I was a “thing” (premium woman). And I am offended. I’ve been reading these books since Diana first wrote them and it has been about as long as this gentleman has been alive. I guarantee you that I didn’t purchase all of these books because I anticipated sex scenes — so referencing Sam/Jamie as “candy” is offensive, both to Sam and the readers.
I agree with previous comments — the show is so much more than what he is making it. The show allows us envision how it actually was during those times; the history, buildings, clothes, food, travel, even the mud. This series has allowed me to put faces to the characters.
I’d probably better sign off as I am having a challenge thinking of nice words to replace and bad ones I want to write.
Completely agree. I found the Outlander books because I was looking for historical fiction and found it very interesting. The plot is great, the history (for the most part correct). I am one of the “old women” who are not in this for the “eye candy” as he puts it. I enjoy all the characters
I was kind of afraid of this. The entire starz network programing has changed to all old, what I call 10yr old boy humor movies like White Chicks. Its on over and over. Im over it. And I am 51 for the record. The show was bound to stray further from our beloved story, all we can do is hope this guy doesnt ruin it completely. Dude, of course we like hot guys with their shirts off, I assume when there are boobs galore on the screen my husband, who also watches Outlander btw, is looking with a different appreciation than myself. But to think we are that shallow is an insult and sweetie, you are messing with the wrong group. Just so you are aware when we all cancel your channel until “early 2020” when we will restart it and watch our show. He needs to check his self.
It’s obvious that Mr. H. does not like or respect “The Outlander”. I”m 71, a big fan, get Starz only for the show and cancel as soon as the season is over . I don’t think you understand the fans devotion to the show and I resent the eye candy comment. The book , the characters and show are so much deeper. And I don’t like it one bit that viewing is delayed until January. That feels like a betrayal to us fans. And by the way, I have a big pocketbook.
Dude. Just. Called. Sam. Eye. Candy. WTF
He totally cheapened his amazing performances over the years to “eye candy”. Seriously would someone from HR please slap this idiot upside the head with something hard? What an absolutely crass statement. And isn’t Sam doing some of the producing now too? What a complete and utter IDIOT. Someone needs to develop depth and emotional intelligence.
Well said Court! He does not…I repeat NOT….make me feel like we’ll see all 9-10 seasons…might be lucky if we see #7. Hopefully he is a person who can learn from those who have a different perspective than his own.
I couldn’t have said it better. Just… make Diana’s books!! You’ll keep your “premium audience” and gain more besides! Promise!
I was stunned by what he said. I felt he had no clue of the fanbase to Outlander is. And I have to be quite truthful in saying the only reason I subscribe to Starz is when Outlander is on. That was the same thing with HBO for once GOT was done that was it. I am 69 years old and he needs to realize some of us only watch a channel for what is on. And only those kind of shows do I like anymore. I favor period pieces over what is offered nowadays. And staying true to the source also not updating things to modern times.
I can’t believe they have reduced our Jamie to “eye candy “. What a shame. They are totally missing the point. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You can’t improve on Diana’s work! #SaveJamieFraserKingOfMen!
I would also add that there are other networks producing shows with amazing and strong female leads, not just STARZ as asserted by Hirsch. BBC America/AMC comes to mind with shows like Orphan Black and Killing Eve.
WTF, what is with this man . I watch this show for the story and Jamie, not not not not for the female perspective. If that’s the future them I am OUT. OUT. OUT.
I am at the premium age when I call a dumb ass move a dumb ass move. Mr Hirsch, you really do not get that your misguided opinion, starting with the definition of “premium,” misses the mark. If that one’s off mark, the rest of what we “want” is off the mark as well. Tsk, tsk. Keep your resume updated.
Frankly, when Outlander goes, Stars leaves my house. What a gross understatement of the actors abilities as well as the rest of production.
I am 71, a young 71 but still 71, and am an avid fan of Outlander for several reasons: the books!!! the actors and their fine acting and portrayals of these characters, the costumes, the sets, and, usually, the story telling in the Starz series. This article has the good, the bad, and the UGLY. The good: it sounds like Starz is in for the long haul with our beloved series; the bad and I might add STUPID: calling Jamie/Sam: eye candy. OMG!!!!!!! This guy does not have a clue as to what we “Premium” or whatever women find so attractive about Jamie Fraser’s character. The comment about his needing to watch Season One is right on target. Jamie demonstrates the strength, integrity, intelligence, courage. and loyalty which any true heroic figure should have, along with a sensitivity, love for family and friends, and sense of humor that make him a very unusual and attractive man. On top of that, his love for Claire is deep and true, and the way he appreciates and respects her as his equal makes him, as Claire says, “the king of men”; and the UGLY: the attitude this Starz COO displays in all of his comments. I find it sadly ironic and insulting that he seems to think making Claire’s character stronger and Jamie’s some type of a “boy toy” is going to please his “target” audience. If he wants to lose us, his words and ideas are a good start! I hope someone can find his address and start a petition.
Thank you! Amen to that. As a 37 y/o woman I agree with you. The reason I watch and ferociously read Outlander is because of the partnership and equal roles they portray. J and C are both leaders on their own and they both respect and love each other bc of that. They are more to each other and to others than a laird and his lady and a healer and his man. They are a team. IMHO, the show had diminished this partnership considerably btu after reading the interview I know, the partnership will be over. The fact that the COO thinks we, female fans, are not educated enough, or smart enough to see beyond a hunky man and woman with power is saddening and depressing. Maybe he should not only watch S1 but read the books to understadn what´s the show about. He should respect the actors and his talent. ps_maybe somebody should tell him why SH is the reason most people watch? and NO, it´s not for his bonny legs!
I have defended the choices Starz/Sony/Lionsgate has made for the first four seasons of ‘Outlander’. For the most part, I have thoroughly enjoyed the first four seasons. Now, from what Jeffrey Hirsch is saying, the show is going to push Claire more to the forefront and Jamie will be, to quote Hirsch, “eye candy”, a trophy husband. Mr. Hirsch needs to understand that this is a story about Jamie told through the eyes of his wife. They are BOTH strong, intelligent individuals (as are Bree and Roger and Young Ian, Murtagh, Jocasta and Ulysses to name a few). He also needs to understand that the OL fandom wants to see Jamie and Claire more like they are in the books-a married couple who deeply love and respect each other and who support each othereach strong in his or her own right.
Get a grip on the OL fandom, Mr. Hirsch because, right now, you are way off base and may find yourself out if you don’t give us what we want instead of what you very stupidly THINK we want.
Please, tell Mr Hirsch to please, please leave Outlander alone. We have enjoyed the balance of Jamie ans Claire as they are. A outstanding job is being done by the writers and members of the outlander crew. Can’t wait till 20202.
Please, tell Mr Hirsch to please, please leave Outlander alone. We have enjoyed the balance of Jamie ans Claire as they are. A outstanding job is being done by the writers and members of the outlander crew. Can’t wait till 20202.
I said it on Twitter and I´ll say it again here. This is insulting, to the show, to D.Gabaldon, the cast and especially to the FANS. Who does he think we are? a bunch of non-educated, clueless, horny women who need to be enlightened with some female empowering lessons and some hunky man to make us feel better? The fact that he treats the fans like this hurts the show and the fans! has he taken a look at the ratings? has he started thinking what´s behind the decline of them?
How can de COO treat a show with a loyal fanbase as soap opera? He clearly hasnt read the books!! How can the COO not know why people watch OL?
The COO treats women as if we need to be shown who we are, what we want , and why? As a feminist, I dont want to watch a show where characters get diminished over others. As a feminist I want to watch equality and as a feminist viewer and reader I want to be treated right, not as a dummy woman in her 30´s who needs to be told what do I want or need. I want EQUALITY and THE STORY.
Even a huge Claire fan, not as much in the tvshow, I wouldnt watch/read Outlander at all because there´s a badass nurse who travels back in time and finds a hunky dude. As a Claire fan, I want the representation of the equality and partnership of the books because this fact is what make OUTLANDER special! this is the key!
I really wonder is the NEW PRODUCERS will say something about this interwiew and their COO´s words? Will they come up with some excuse defending their COO´s words or they´ll stand up for their work, Gabaldon´s work and defend their fans?
This said, I wasn´t very excited for S5 but after this interview I dont think I could watchit. Let´s see if the cast has something to say… if they dont…I´m out! I´ll be completly dissappointed on them!
keep preaching it, Courtney! This was a thoroughly offensive evaluation by an out of touch executive who has managed to alienate both book readers and show watchers who are men and women, who appreciate good historical fiction with fully drawn characters who have moral complexity. Of course Starz needs to make money in order to produce such quality as they have done with this show, but they also need to respect their supporting audience, as well as the very talented show runners and actors in the process. I hope we’ll be seeing an apology for him after hearing from so many of us that he really missed the mark with labeling Sam “eye candy” and the demographic as “premium women.” He doesn’t understand Outlander at all.
“Female characters manipulating the men around the board” is exactly the way females behave in SM in my very humble opunion. And sadly, the more noise you make, the more attention you get. Imvho OL fan base on SM has turned exactly the way the COO says. I only hope being Cait and Sam producers now bring them more power. I trust them.
You’re right on target! When I listened to his interview this morning I thought – omg- this dude has SO missed his mark!! With this attitude he’ll alienate all us viewers he is trying to target! He’s come into this position with an almost (excuse me) misogynist’s view of who Outlander women viewers are and why we watch/read Outlander. People around me (male and female) are intelligent discriminating viewers who love this dedicated, love and marriage relationship between two equals. We appreciate everything about the -quality- of the entire production and the epic Outlander world. Has he not read all of the comments of last 1 1/2 seasons of how they’ve missing the mark!?!?! Set by S1? Mr. H!! Im 68 years old-yes, you’re my son’s contemporary- you haven’t even included me in your target demo! Id put $ that Im more ‘financially viable’ and have lots more time to check out what all the apps are streaming! So am I a ‘Premium Female’ by your definition? Maybe I’ll just stick with The Last Kingdom and Netflix! Oh my lord! I hope he reads all these comments!
I have never felt the need to comment on this site but I had to this time and I found his comments very condescending to say the least and he should maybe take time out and review his thoughts on the programme coz i think he has just made himself a very unpopular person with a vast number of premium women, of which i am one! Obviously he has never read any of the books or he would realise that this story is an equal partnership one and not just the main female lead character.
I am very annoyed with this?
Ok, once again I am left with that sinking feeling, I am becoming so much more disillusioned with leadership of all types. I am so afraid that I am going to see more of the bitchy I am always so right Claire and Jamie is my toy boy crap. I find that the writers seem to be increasingly following that scenario all the time. Where is that show that promised at the beginning we are going to stay close to the books. That was the mandate. Really so what happened in Season 4. Sorry but they have lost money for the first time I didn’t buy the DVD of a season. Just wasn’t interested with the rubbish I had already paid for, with Season 4 on line. I even bought Season 3 which felt was really not a favourite with me so how many more didn’t. What hope is there for the actors if they are being driven by this sort of rubbish. Book54Angel54
What an insult to the fans, the creative team both in behind and in front of the cameras, and to Diana Gabaldon herself! That is NOT what she created, or what Ron Moore set out to put onscreen. Sadly, that is EXACTLY what a typical bean-counting, slavishly data-dependent executive without a creative or intuitive instinct in his body, sounds like. They trust the DATA, and fan feedback be damned. Trust me, I’ve worked for several. Let’s hope having Sam and Cait as producers is the stronger influence here, and this a-hole stays OUT of the creative side, or we’ll have another season of Super Bossy Bitch Claire and Submissive Eye Candy Jamie. (Yes, I exaggerate, but you know what I mean).
didnt get s3 or s4 dvds and I wont. I wonder if the lead cast and now producers have something to say about the decline of quality, the change of the roles and their COO´s words. As a feminist myself I´d be dissappointed if Balfe doesnt step up and say a couple of things, and Heughan doesnt come up and set the record straight with the interview.
My goodness!! Does this guy know what he is dealing with? I hope he does not upset the apple cart with production as he could be saying goodbye to COO! and Moo dung!
First, I always dislike being lumped into any category and someone assuming they know me based on my age.
I liked The White Queen – Spanish Princess shows, but really thought the acting and character development went downhill with each series. Hopefully Outlander doesn’t get dumbed down because some executive assumes we just want Jamie with his shirt off.
And just because I like some shows that are pure fluff, I also think shows that are more intense and complicated, like Counterpoint. I enjoy coming home after work and getting into something totally different from real like, with an interesting story and great, complex characters.
I wish there was a way to “like” or “love” others comments. They are much better than I am at putting their feelings into words!
[…] queréis más sobre este tema, os recomiendo leer el artículo de Courtney Williams y también el de Matt […]
Well said everyone! The reason why we all love this series so much is because it’s so faithful to the books.
Unlike other adaptations that play fast and loose with the original material, Outlander has just brought the story to life, perfectly. Ron Moore understood that Diana’s fans were so committed that we wouldn’t accept anything less and that’s why the series has been sooooo successful.
This guy simply doesn’t get it and it’s worrying that he’s now in charge. Having spent my entire career in advertising and marketing, I really hope that this is just sales spiel for the trade to upsell Stars and he doesn’t get his sticky mitts on the production itself. And that Diana can ensure that the adaptations remain true to the books in both spirit and content.
One of my worries is that Sam or Cait call it quits and do not stay on to shoot all the books. This interview is not very helpfull.
Calling Sam eyecandy! What an insult!!! And btw I m 59.
Oh, my my my. You really nailed it. What a weasel. Every new thing he said my breakfast started coming up, and you stopped appropriately each time to gag along with your reader. Thanks for sharing this.
I hope this man has his resume saved because if he messes with Outlander he will feel the earthquake as hundreds of thousands of Starz subscribers cancel the service, since, in my opinion, it has nothing left to appeal to all those women he is targeting as his favored viewing public, including the unending repeat of films that were on when I first subscribed five years ago and weren’t very appealing then. I am sure if Starz loses Outlander someone else with more brains than this dude will pick it up and run with it, including Netflix, and my Starz cancellation will more than pay for my Netflix subscription, showing him how wise we women, especially older women are in their spending decisions. I have never watched any of the other Starz series except Black Sails and the historical Queens and Princesses series, because I love history, not prostitutes, drug dealers, unearthly beings from invading planets, so why would I continue with Starz? I won’t, but I will continue with Outlander because it is a great story, with great characters, and a true portrayal of History, aside from the fact that the characters are well-rounded and appealing. Is Claire a modern woman? She is, but has adapted well to the circumstances she finds herself in. Is Jamie (or his portrayer Sam Heughan) eye candy…..Sam is, according to the woman who gave birth to Jamie Fraser, Diana Gabaldon, Jamie personified. He is not the typical American man, true; he is and was a Scottish warrior from the 18th. century who falls in love with a woman and lives the rest of his life trying to provide a safe environment for her and their extended family……accepting her for who she is, a woman from a different time, so why should he be denigrated by this executive because while doing what he is supposed to do, he happens to be physically appealing, as described by the author, and Sam Heughan is that, he is also a terrific actor who has brought this character to life in his portrayal. I am 78 years old, and if this fool thinks I watch Outlander to see Jamie take his shirt off, he is off his medication.
Judith — your last sentence made me laugh. You are spot on — I couldn’t have said it better.
Totally distressed by this article. With you I fear for future of Stars programming. Can only hope that we 2 stars added as producers they will be able to continue protecting their show along with Ron,Maril, Matt and Toni.
Thank you for your post.what an idiot of a man! It does explain a lot about what was a great adaption with two great lead actors bringing Jamie and Claire to life onscreen so brilliantly to the decent into something mediocre.
His comments are insulting, especially towards Sam Heughan and he owes him an apology. It is clear that after season 2 this was the direction Starz was going down. Changing the storyline, boring side storylines, never promoting and totally dismissing Sam Heughans excellent acting, pushing the strong Claire image. Also at awards time.
The main reason I kept reading the books and loved the show was how this relationship between two different equally strong people developed and deepened. An example of how a loving, intimate, supportive equal relationship can be. They ruined a great show and you do wonder what goes on bts and how the actors get treated? And how much manipulation goes on? So appalling!
Big swing and a miss Mr H.
Most of us true fans loved the story before we ever saw the show. I sterted during or just after season 2. I made myself read the books before I started the TV series.
We are looking forward to seeing the life Jamie and Clare build together. Which includes Roger and Brianna start their life together on the Ridge. I’m more excited about Go Tell The Bees coming than the next TV season.
Soon to be 40 years Premium Female
Just another example of a man deciding that he knows what women want but really has no idea. I think he has done a total disservice to the actors and fan base and shown a great disrespect to Sam Heughan. I can only say that if he thinks Sam is just eye candy, needs to be on medications for his delusional state!
You are so right, so right on all counts.
[…] wrote a response piece yesterday, to the Hollywood Reporter article/ interview with Jeffrey Hirsch. I might call it more of a reaction piece, really, but, hey, I’m human. (And so is Jeffrey […]
Very well written reply to such a shocking article. Apparently Mr H has never read Diana’s wonderful Outlander books or even watched the series. He certainly had no understanding of women. Sam Heughan and all the Male actors on Outlander are fabulous actors. He has cut them to the bone. I for one will not watch the series if it focuses only on Dr Claire. Outlander is a success because of the interaction of all the characters.
I started reading the Outlander books about 17 years ago. The TV series is a way to bring these characters to life. It’s easy to tell which writers understand the story and relationships. I’m 72 and certainly not looking for an eye candy or soap opera quality series.
I feel sorry for Starz with such a dolt at the helm!
I may not be allowed to comment, being past expiration date, will be 90 in August. I am not a TV watcher, Outlander was the first series I could get into and like. Reread all the books, have the 4 seasons DVDs. Not re watching 3 and 4 much, very disappointing. Even season 2 had too many changes because the pivotal healing of Jamie in the underground lake was omitted. In my long life, I learned to stay away from dominant women and dominant men, also sleazy snake oil salesmen who think they know it all. Ron Moore’s two sentences explain exactly why Outlander is on slippery slope. Ron Moore sounds so delightful, humorous, intelligent, a leader, yet loving his wife and family. Exactly what he made Jamie the first season. Once he distanced himself from the production, it suffered. I think Caitriona is an amazing, natural actress, Sam is still growing, given a chance.
Outlander fans are drawn to the story line because of Jaime and Claire’s relationship and the outside forces tha they face together, in love, passion and caring….I reiterate because of J&C! Not because of one character over another. Definitely not Claire over Jaime although I love her character. The story is about Jaime as seen through Claire’s eyes. I subscribe to Starz because of the story line as told by the books, it is the ONLY show I watch and I really don’t want to have to boycott my favorite show to teach STARZ a lesson, but I will if they don’t keep true to DIANA’S CLAIRE AND JAIME!!!
Thank you for saying it so perfectly! Exactly how this 56 year old feels!
Hirsch is the new Les Moonves, although his idea of ‘Premium Women’ in the 90s was 18-34, so we moldy oldies have made a few inroads I guess.
I’m 63 and was introduced to the show by a friend, then started reading the books. Have watched all seasons more than once, read all books twice and am now on my third round of the books, reading each and rewatching the season it goes with. It’s remarkable the things I forgot from the books, to now see how they changed for the show, but have always enjoyed both formats for their own entertainment value.
I disagree with this man’s assessment of what type of woman watches and why they watch. I also remember reading an interview with Diana where she clearly stated that this “is Jamie’s story,” not Claire’s. The show has been redirected into appearing to be Claire’s story, yet I’m still excited to see how it ends, wrapping up the mystery of Jamie’s ghost from the first episode, and how this comes full circle to be “Jamie’s story.”
I still find both books and the show very entertaining and have a hard time picking up another author’s work because like many, I’ve become somewhat obsessed and totally immersed in the Outlander story. Totally looking forward to Bees and how the prophecy gets explained—is Jem going to rise to power in modern day Scotland, or even rise to power in 19th century Scotland? Or America? And since the 200 year old baby (Bree) doesn’t die on the date of her birth, now what? And how do they explain 1968 Claire holding Geillis’ skull, which was in the cave where Claire killed her 200 years ago, BEFORE Claire had traveled back the second time???
I completely understand the difficulty in condensing 1000+ pages of written material into 10-12 one hour episodes, and staying true to the written work. I don’t understand revising that written work to end up being something it never was nor meant to be. Diana is very gracious, but I would imagine she has her moments where she fumes a bit when she sees what the TV writers came up with, supposedly condensed from what she wrote.
Without Jamie, there is no Claire! It is their love and partnership that draws me to the books and the series!
Sadly…another male executive hired to try to market to women. WHY is that? There are many premium females that could be hired (think Madam of a bordello ??) and then Starz male execs would not have to guess about the complexities of the female mind !!!!???❓❓❓
I am a premium female who loves good stories (soap operas and eye candy) but I want it ALL…which means colorful characters and complicated plots too! And lets not forget the basic romance of the old couple Jamie and Claire. We women want it ALL! ? Simple concept but difficult to execute without premium females running the network.
The Outlander novels are the roadmap. Starz needs to sell the property if they aren’t going to do right by the novels….let Netflix or HBO take it on to do it right. I agree this sounds like we will get more of surgeon Claire (?) not Claires story about her beloved Jamie.
I would dearly LOVE to hear the star’s of Outlander’s reaction to his comments. Especially Caitriona Balfe who is all about the #METOO movement. Plus, she is a huge supporter of Sam and encourages noms for his acting. I predict Hirsch will not be long for the Starz world if he doesn’t get his head out of his a$$.
I have commented to all of my “premium female” friends about how impressed I have been about the quality and depth of the characters of Jamie and Claire in this WONDERFUL production. PLEASE do not reduce this to a soap opera about a time traveling surgeon and her “eye candy” husband…..you will have destroyed everything that made this SO refreshing and engaging! If, as you claim, “premium females” are your target audience…..then you MUST recognize that we are not a bunch of vapid, shallow, youngsters. We are, in fact, intelligent, worldly, and sophisticated enough to recognize….and demand…..the level of entertainment that (especially the first 2 seasons!) OUTLANDER has given us!. Choose your screenwriters carefully……or lose your audience completely!
?????? I am a smart intelligent 65 year old woman who wants the writers to stick as close as possible to Diana’s incredible story. No one can improve the best….and they shouldn’t try.
Yeah, guy is totally on the wrong track. My hope is that, now Cait and Sam are producers, the quality of the story will continue. They know these characters. They know and respect us fans, regardless of age or pocketbook. I leave it in their capable hands.
Well now, my favorite part of being a woman – a man telling me how I think and feel. Almost all of the networks and streaming services have or will be showing female centric shows. Some will even have women producing and directing. All of that is great as long as these stories stay far away from Mr. Hirsch. I am heartsick that such a person would even come close to Outlander, let alone make decisions about its content. Season 4 was not a favorite season for me, but I had hope for season 5. Would be interesting to hear Diana Gabaldon’s opinion, but I doubt she will come forward. I know she doesn’t have a say in how her work is treated by Starz although she does say she makes comments from time to time. Let’s hope that once “Bees” is sent to the publisher she will have lots of time on her hands to watch over Outlander the TV show. Oh, wait, she’s not a Premium Woman – too old – shit. Oh well, maybe the next press release is that Mr. Hirsch is moving on and taking his misogynistic bull with him.
Kudos on the dissection of Mr. Hirsch’s interview, Courtney. Well done! I feel disheartened that this man is at the helm. If he is interested in the true demographics of his viewers, many of which are men and most of which are likely women over 54, he might learn something useful. I am wary that Outlander is destined to become another sleazy, slick and soulless TV series. These are everywhere on TV, today. I do think it is possible he was giving easy answers for press buzz but only time will tell. We decrepit premier women (reads like FDA meat grading) have to keep hoping, praying and pushing Starz to get a heart. Read the books! (psst…..I miss you, Chris)
Well Starz, look at your new COO live up to the stereotype of new manager coming in and making large changes to establish their authority. I’m 59 and ironically was a director in a large Intellectual Property law firm. Thank goodness we have the books. Sounds like you’re getting all lined up to ruin a wonderful and successful series. Way to go.
I first discovered Outlander via the DVD of Series 1. Then read all the books three times. I have brought other fans to the show and books in Australia. I think both Sam and Cait provide such depth and sensitivity to their characterisations. This “condescending suit”, to quote one of your contributors, seems typical of corporations. They destroy and move on. Clearly this guy doesn’t know much about women or other viewers.
Could anyone have more insulting than Mr. Hirsch. This is what i call full blown arrogance and ignorance. He has them full time. Get rid of him, he’ll ruin everything. Outlander deserves much better. Mr. Hirsch knows nothing.
So frustrating! Jamie is part of the heart and soul of this show and it would not have worked so well if he wasn’t so compelling of a male lead! Also, I guess this would mean he wouldn’t be amendable to a Lord John spinoff. 🙁
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[…] back story, go to COO Alienates… and please see Dear People Who Make This Show We Love, too. Have a wonderful day. […]
I am a Premium Plus female. I watch Outlander because it’s intelligent, multilayered and the acting, particularly by Catriona and especially Sam Heughan is second to none. If he never takes his shirt off again in the series, it would be missed, but it is not why we watch Outlander. It’s the story of two people and their story and the great lengths they go to because of their love for each other and family. I am so offended by Mr. Hirsch’s comments for Sam’s sake and for the sake of the intelligent women and men who watch this show. Sam Heughan is one of the finest actors i’ve ever had the privilege to watch and for Mr Hirsch to denigrate him to “eye candy” is insulting and insensitive. I hope this does not suggest that we will have super Claire to the detriment of Jamie, as it has happened recently in some of the shows. Jamie is an equal partner to Claire and Sam has given us a wonderful man to watch as Jamie. Mr. Hirsch, listed to these opinions!!
I’m not sure that this man has watched the show or has spoken to wife, sister, or mother. He essentially called us too dumb to follow Counterpart. Really? I loved the show…except the enormous delay between seasons, a Starz programming decision. He essentially insulted Diana Gabaldon by diminishing the role her story and characters have in drawing us in. He essentially dismissed the roles of the entire production staff intimating that the sets, costumes, locations, timing, music, locations…aren’t a huge part of our love of this show. He completely insulted the actors, who are btw enthusiastic ambassadors for the show and the network, indicating they are just nice to look at. Has he watched the show? Seen the emotions run across these actors’ faces? Did we love and hate Douglas because of the way he looks? Do we hate Black Jack because of his Face? Pity/hate Laoghaire because of hers? Did we love Angus, Rupert, Mrs. Fitz…because they are eye candy? If not, why do love Jamie because his is? No,all of the acting in this show is stellar, the writing is excellent, the story is rich, the production is exceptional, the settings are lush and beautiful, and the fans are smart enough to relish it all. Possibly, this COO is not smart enough to understand the real winning formula to a hit show? I think he should binge watch the first two seasons and issue an apology to the cast, crew, author, and fans.
I don’t think Mr. Hirsch gets Outlander and Outlander’s audience. Outlander’s audience are mature whether 20 or 90. They want & have deep emotions that they see in Outlander’s Claire and Jamie. He definitely lacks the deep emotions of Outlander.
You know, the more I think about the things Mr Hirsch said the more I am insulted. Not just for all those involved in the production of Outlander but for women in general. He is condescending, misogynistic, and basically doesn’t seem to like women very much.
I sent a comment to STARZ telling them how I feel about Mr. Hirsch comments. As they have upgraded my comments down the line, and they asked for further details, I recommended they check out this page to see a microcosm of our feelings. And to checkout “herself’s “ comments . I hope this means they will be paying attention and responding!
Loyal to the end and not afraid to voice my thoughts!
Rather than attempting to add to or improve upon all of the excellent comments that have been previously made, I will simple say, “RIGHT ON, LADIES!!!”
Like many Outlander fans, I read Outlander when it first came out in 1991 and have read every book as it has been released over the past 18 years. As with others, too, I am a huge a fan of the STARZ series. I also fall outside of Mr. Hirsch’s “Premium Female” category: I am 68 years old. I daresay that, through his words, Mr. Hirsch has no idea of the depth and breadth–and age–of Outlander-dom or of what we truly love about Outlander.
I am appalled that Mr. Hirsch has seen fit to marginalize all women but especially those of us outside of his “Premium Female” category. It is clear in the interview that his misogyny is in tact (I am not bashing Mr. Hirsch, here, merely stating the obvious). His condescending comments about what women want (and how old those women are) seem to be his weak attempt at being “politically correct.” Those comments are insulting on every level.
Ms. Gabaldon said it best, though, in the closing remark of her response to Mr. Jeffrey Hirsch, COO of STARZ, “If you’re looking for a place to lean in, though, I think maybe “intelligence” might be a good place to start.”
“28 years!!” not 18 as I typed in error!!
Thank you for your analysis and expressing the feelings of so many of us. I am 47 and just discovered Outlander last year after a dear friend had hip surgery (she’s 60) and binged it while recovering. Since binging myself, I have read 2 of the books. This year, I introduced my 72yo mother to the story in Chile (I live in the USA but my whole family is in Chile) and we binged S1-3 in 3 days (that’s what’s available there on Netflix). Before I came back home, I bought the first book for her to read, and she has already started it. Her comments were not “oh what a piece of candy that guy is” but “OMG, the story is so good, fast paced, smart, full of twists and intrigue, politics”. That’s why we watch. I have to admit, when I heard that Sam and Cait were producers now, I felt afraid that it was to keep the audience interested while the actual story shows less of J&C and more of the other characters or added storylines. I hope I’m off base here, just as I hope that Starz COO will understand that his comments were unfortunate, and frankly insulting. BTW, I LOVE Counterpart, because it is so complicated!
First of all, I am insulted to have been placed squarely into the box of “NON-Premium Women”! Secondly, if JH had been the driving force behind the direction of the “adaptation” since Season 1, I think it highly likely that the deterioration I’ve seen in seasons 3 and 4 would have happened early enough that the show would have ended after season 2. As DG said, her books have sold in the millions, but the farther away from the source material these people stray, the more the fans complain. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t get much worse that episodes 1 and 2 of season 4, and if the first few episodes of season 5 continue the downhill slide, I will be cancelling STARZ. As it is, I only subscribe when Outlander has new material; I haven’t found anything else I’m interested in!
Thought about it for a couple of days and decided to cancel Starz. Waited to see if anyone at Starz cared enough to address this interview, they didn’t. So this viewer will wait until the DVD’s come out to watch Outlander.
My lover gives me all the eye candy I need/want. I watch the show, as does said lover, my ex husband, daughters- in their 30’s, their husbands, sisters, brother-in laws, nieces, and their husbands. Outlander reaches all ages and sexes- because of the story, and how well it has been translated to the screen. The acting is superb- by all and as for Sam, his acting has been under appreciated for too long. With Mr Hirsch’s attitude we now see why. He is so much more than a chest baring actor. Give him the credit he deserves. And watch the show. If Mr Hirsch has any depth to him, he might begin to understand the true beauty of Outlander. And I am not talking about Sam. Mr Hirsch is so condescending and obviously needs to study the demographics in more depth. I hope his wife and if he has any daughters enlighten him.
Thank you for your analysis, very well said and, speaking for myself (63) spot on. Love the books and the show brings them to life for me.
[…] Starz COO Alienates Outlander “Premium Females” with Latest Press Release […]
Mr.H is a dumb bastard. He really needs to do a little reading before he opens his ignorant mouth.
If he cancels Outlander’s future seasons, I for one will no longer subscribe to Starz and I don’t feel like I’m the only one that feels like that.
Good luck, Mr. H, I’d hate to know this idiot had control of my network( Starz executives)
It has all been said, Get rid of J. Hirsch. He is not qualified for this important position.
Premium Females!? What does think we are – prime cuts of beef “Premium?”. What planet does he come from As I mentioned before, Mr. Hirsch is both arrogant and Ignorant. He needs to be gone. Outlander, TV series, is and has always been refreshing, and different. As in the books, it is a storey that held us all captive – and thoroughly enjoying every minute. Diana Gabaldon has given us a real treasure, her books are to be read over and over, and you will always find something you missed the first time. So, Mr. Hirsch – go find yourself another job somewhere else. Don’t label intelligent human beings.
68 year-old male chipping in here, also on behalf of my premium female (64). We’ve been fans ever since we read the books – as they came out – and have been enjoying the series, although we think that the seasons need to be twice as long to cover everything in the books. Mr Hirsch should get his head out of his fundament pretty quick, before all the subscribers who pay his salary have closed their accounts. I suppose I could have written something a bit more intelligent and analytical but I don’t think his comments merit more than this.
I beg to differ…this is not only intelligent, Norman and Carole, it’s succinct and darn near perfect!
I was pretty disgusted by Mr, Hirsch’s comments and generalized overview of Outlander. Truth be told, I preferred the earlier seasons where Ron Moore was more hands on AND more visibly in charge. It’s not that Matt and Toni aren’t doing a great job; it’s just that Ron had the vision from the beginning and when he began other projects, the storyline, IMO, drifted as well.
Betty, I agree with your comments.
I completely agree with you, Betty. Ron, please come back!!
Yes, great advice. Watch Season 1!
Spot on! Thank you!!
Bonus? Watch with someone who knows the story well.
I’m thrilled you included this quote:
“…And Chris said to me, ‘make this show for the fans and trust that anyone who’s not a fan will be swept up in the story the same way all the readers were.’ And I was like, “yes, sir!” It was just great. That’s exactly what you hope that they’re going to do.”
Every time I get upset about an “off-book” scene or other adaptation, I watch that interview and cling to the hope that they don’t stray too far. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the transition from book to screen challenges and I do love the Murtagh adaptation. It’s diminishing Jamie’s character or adding an unnecessary modern twist that chaps my hide!
I sure hope there’s someone left in the decision-making process who remembers and follows that initial directive. If so, we will be there through Season 10, right, Premium (and other) fans?!