Update: Variety reports the Federal Communications Commission has approved the AT&T-DirecTV merger, allowing AT&T and Starz to create a new deal to distribute hit shows such as “Power” and “Outlander.” In a statement, both companies shared:
“AT&T and Starz have reached an agreement to continue our longstanding relationship.”
This agreement occurred, surprisingly, after executive producer 50 Cent accused AT&T of racism in several social media posts that went viral. The negotiations between the two companies were finalized hours before the deadline to renew their contracts approached.
Original Report- July 20,2015:
In the midst of 50 Cent filing for bankruptcy, the executive producer of Power, now has a bone to pick with cable provider AT&T.
The telecommunication company is stalling on an agreement to carry the Starz channel, making viewers who have them as cable providers or their cable branch U-Verse unable to view 50’s hit show. During a Twitter rant, 50 accused AT&T of being racist and shared that it, along with U-Verse has plans to discontinue service for cable channels that carry “urban” television shows.
Power kicked off its second season with more than six million viewers an episode via multiple plays and platforms, reports Deadline Hollywood. Half of Power’s viewers are African-American which is reportedly more than any other scripted show on premium cable. Starz is also the second most subscribed premium cable channel after HBO. Starz secured its deal with AT&T in February 2012 and Starz Play, Encore Play and Movieplex Play were added to U-Verse in December 2012.
A Starz spokesperson released a statement on the issue:
“Starz is in ongoing negotiations with AT&T U-verse to continue distributing its 30 Starz and Encore channels and services at a fair and reasonable rate… Without a new agreement, the millions of AT&T customers who have chosen to subscribe and pay for Starz and Encore will be at risk of losing these channels and the popular original programming like Power and Outlander, as well as thousands of movies. Starz has enjoyed a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with AT&T until now. We are hopeful AT&T will negotiate in good faith and that we will reach a fair agreement that allows its customers to continue to get great entertainment at a good value.”
However, AT&T responded by noting, “Starz and their paid talent can spin up whatever they like, but the bottom line is we’re NOT going to negotiate a deal that is bad for customers. In these negotiations, our customers are all that matter to us.”