In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch described his channel's strategy of putting out "premium female" programming, targeted to a very specific audience: Affluent women, aged 24 to 54. "They really like high scripted drama, great women in history and a lot of IP [intellectual property]," Hirsch said. "You look at the audience for Outlander and that's the perfect audience for us."
Hirsch then went on to explain that, in his view, part of the show's appeal is its sexuality. "You can say that [Outlander is] great because women like it because she's a surgeon who goes back in time, but there's also another side of that, which is there's some eye candy for that audience and people like when [Sam Heughan] has his shirt off," he explained
Diana Gabaldon, the woman behind the books Outlander is based on, did not take kindly to that description. She tweeted at the show's account, suggesting that Hirsch focus on the show's "intelligence" rather than "Jamie with his shirt off."
Read Gabaldon's full response below.
Well, I dunno, Jeffrey… At the moment, I’ve got 30+ million books in print, in 42 countries; I get a lot of mail. I can’t say I see a lot of people talking about Jamie with his shirt off, unless it’s mentioning the shock and poignancy of his scars.
I do see a lot of people (male, female, straight, gay, you name it) who love the books and love the show—and what they like about the show is how much it reflects what’s in the books. (Might be worth noting that when a woman is watching OUTLANDER, her husband or boyfriend is usually watching it with her…)
What they mostly say they like is the intelligence of the story and the complexity and strength of the relationship between Jamie and Claire. They also love the visual beauty of the show and the emotional depth of the acting.
If you’re looking for a place to lean in, though, I think maybe “intelligence” might be a good place to start.
Whatever your reason for watching Outlander—there are no bad reasons to like this show— you'll have to wait till next year for another installment. Season five of Outlander is expected to return to Starz in 2020, though production is already underway. Watch a sneak peek video from the set below:
You Might Also Like