Lionsgate names Jeffrey Hirsch CEO of Starz

Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Fraser in the Starz series "Outlander."
Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Fraser in the Starz series “Outlander.”
(Nick Briggs / Starz)

Lionsgate has promoted Jeffrey Hirsch to president and chief executive of its pay-TV network Starz, the company said Thursday.

Hirsch, who joined Starz four years ago and has served as chief operating officer since 2016, replaces Chris Albrecht, the longtime leader of the network who left the company earlier this year.

Albrecht, who had been with Starz since 2010, exited in February as part of Lionsgate’s efforts to more closely integrate the unit into its larger entertainment business. Albrecht balked at moves by Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer to take a more hands-on approach to Starz programming.

Santa Monica-based Lionsgate, known for the “Hunger Games” and “John Wick” movies, bought Starz for $4.4 billion nearly four years ago to bulk up its efforts in the television business. Starz is known for shows including “Outlander” and “Power.”


Jeffrey Hirsch, newly named CEO Starz

Lionsgate credited Hirsch with leading recent growth in Starz subscribers. Its domestic subscriber count increased to 24.7 million from 23.5 million last year, the company said. Starz’s streaming service has 4.4 million subscribers and is projected to top 6 million by the end of Lionsgate’s current fiscal year.

“Jeff continues to lead Starz’s transformation into one of the world’s premier subscription platforms,” Feltheimer said in a statement.

Hirsch came to Starz in July 2015 as president of global marketing and product development. Before that, he served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer of residential services at Time Warner Cable.