Company Announcements

Starz Launches Multi-Faceted Inclusion Initiative #TakeTheLead Expanding Its Commitment To Programming By, About And For Women And Underrepresented Audiences

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Starz President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch announced today the launch of the Starz #TakeTheLead initiative, a comprehensive effort deepening the company's existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.  Starz commissioned an inclusion study in partnership with The Center for Scholars & Storytellers, UCLA with results confirming Starz is "Taking the Lead" with its diverse representation on screen, off screen and throughout the company. In an effort to inspire and engage others across the industry to #TakeTheLead, Starz will also host a series of monthly "Transparency Talks" with thought leaders and members of key organizations including the ACLU of Southern California, Producers Guild of America, California Film Commission and more.

"At Starz, #TakeTheLead is our continued commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. The multi-faceted approach to improving representation serves as our guiding principle across our business from programming choices to hiring decisions," Hirsch said. "I'm proud that Starz leads the industry with 63.2% series leads who are people of color, 54.6% female showrunners and a 75% female executive team, which is indicative of our deep-seated commitment to representation on screen, behind the camera and throughout our organization. While it is valuable to evaluate how we are measuring up against our directive, it's even more important to identify opportunities where we can continue to further progress on our mission."

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The results of the report demonstrate Starz's commitment to investing in content that amplifies diverse voices and shines a spotlight on women in front of and behind the camera with hit series including the "Power" Universe, "P-Valley," "Outlander," and upcoming series including "Run the World,"  "Blindspotting," "Black Mafia Family," "Shining Vale," "Serpent Queen" and more. In addition to the findings below, 75% of Starz's executive leadership team are women, inclusive of direct reports to the President and CEO, and 50% are people of color, all of whom are women. The UCLA study, which measured STARZ scripted Original Series that aired or will air between January 2020 through December 2021 as well as series that are in production as of February 2021, verified that Starz is significantly above industry averages in several categories including:

  • 63.2% of series leads on STARZ Original Series are people of color and 57.9% are women 
  • 60.4% of series regular roles on STARZ Original Series are portrayed by people of color and 27.8% are portrayed by women of color 
  • 54.6% of showrunners at Starz are women and 45.5% are people of color 
  • 47.1% of executive producers are people of color and 41.2% are women
  • 29.1% of writers are women of color 
  • 49.3% of directors are people of color and 43.7% are women 

Starz will kick off its series of "Transparency Talks" in April bringing relevant discussions to the forefront with organizations and thought leaders from industry powerhouses including Melissa Goodman, Director of Advocacy at theACLU of Southern California; Dan Halperin and Lisa Kors, former Co-Chairs of the PGA's Diversity & Inclusion Committee; Colleen Bell, Executive Director of the California Film Commission and former United States Ambassador to Hungary; Jamia Wilson, Executive Editor and Vice President at Random House and Former Executive Director and Publisher, Feminist Press; Madelyn Hammond, President Madelyn Hammond & Associates; Yalda Uhls, Founder of The Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA and others who have committed to partner with Starz to take collective actions towards improving inclusion.

The "Transparency Talks" will culminate with the first-ever Starz Summit, a day that will showcase the company's creative diversity and commitment to the next generation of diverse voices.

About Starz
Starz (, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is the global media company taking the lead in streaming premium content that spotlights a spectrum of women both in front of and behind the camera for audiences worldwide. Starz is home to the flagship domestic STARZ® service, including STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels and the associated on-demand and online services, as well as the proprietary and highly-rated STARZ app. In 2018 Starz launched its Starzplay international premium streaming platform and, coupled with its Starz Play Arabia venture, has since expanded its global footprint into 50 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan and India. The essential complement to any subscription platform, STARZ and Starzplay are available across digital OTT platforms and multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies around the world. Starz offers subscribers more than 7,500 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.

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