Powers behind 'Power' lobby Hill lawmakers for support

AP News
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Posted: Jul 22, 2015 8:58 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — "Power" star Omari Hardwick and the creator of the popular Starz series lobbied lawmakers Wednesday for greater support for cable programs that appeal to minority audiences.

"I think it's so important that shows like 'Power' exist, shows like 'Survivor's Remorse,' because they really show the world as it is, as opposed to a fictional version that's been whitewashed," the series' creator and showrunner, Courtney Kemp Agboh, told The Associated Press.

"There aren't a lot of television shows, especially in the premium cable space, that reflect that," she said.

Hardwick and Agboh joined Starz executives for Capitol Hill meetings with Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and other lawmakers. Asked what they were seeking, Starz representative Lisa Jose Fales said they wanted to raise awareness of minority programing.

"Power," a drama about a drug dealer hoping to legitimize his business, is now in its second season on Starz and has been ordered for a third. It is the highest-performing series in the network's history with more than 6.3 million multiplatform viewers per episode — the vast majority of them African-Americans, according to the network.

Starz and AT&T have been in negotiations on a new distribution deal and have not yet reached an agreement. Without a new deal, AT&T subscribers are at risk of losing access to Starz programs.

In recent days, rapper Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cent, a co-executive producer and a co-star of "Power," criticized AT&T as "racist" in Twitter and Instagram posts, and accused network executives of trying to keep "urban friendly" programming off its lineup. Starz has pushed its message on social media through the Twitter hashtag "#IWantMyStarz."

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, AT&T said it would not negotiate a bad deal for its customers.