My pal Claudia Eller has a funny little scoop on the LA Times website about how Starz chief Chris Albrecht made a Blackberry mistake that led to Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett’s exit from Overture. (So I gotta ask: is this why moguls like Alan Horn and Ron Meyer refuse to use smart phones or even computers?) On July 1, Albrecht began a vacation in Majorca and read a hush-hush e-mail about the future of the Overture duo. Albrecht tapped out a confidential response suggesting that when he returned on July 12th there should be a discussions about removing the pair. But the reply went to approximately 400 Starz employees and senior executives — including McGurk and Rosett.
Enough is enough is enough. Starz topper Chris Albrecht at first was just going to shut down Overture and its home video arm Anchor Bay. (Founded in November 2006, Overture Films has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Starz LLC, which is a unit of Liberty Media Corp and which Albrecht runs along with the Starz Entertainment premium television business and the Starz Media production and distribution company.) Then he gave Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett months and months to find a buyer. But the time came today not to drag out this painful endgame. So Albrecht formally announced the departures of the Overture CEO and COO. Only patsies like the trades would believe the duo jumped before they were pushed over “strategic differences”. I’ve learned that the duo were told they would be fired if they didn’t resign first. Albrecht issued this terse statement: “I want to thank Chris and Danny for their dedication and hard work in building the studio from the ground up, and wish them well in their future business endeavors.” Now Peter Adee, president of worldwide marketing and distribution and new media, will oversee day-to-day operations of Overture. I’ll write more about the past, present, and future of Overture in a bit.