Courtney Kemp is a powerful woman. Described by her Starz “Power” cast members, Omari HARDWICK (“James ‘Ghost’ St. Patrick”), LELA LOREN (“Angela Valdes”), NATURI NAUGHTON (Tasha St. Patrick), JOSEPH SIKORA (Tommy Egan) LA LA ANTHONY (Lakeisha Grant) & ROTIMI AKINOSHO (Dre) as strong, focused, formidable, and very maternal. The last description might be a surprise given the fact that Ms. Kemp is thriving in a white male-infused industry where there are few African-American television show-runners and even fewer woman.
Kemp makes money for the Starz network and “Power,” which revolves around a pair of drug kings desperately trying to balance legit business with street business in gritty, contemporary New York City, could be an artistic metaphor of how the Hollywood game actually works.
As the creator and show-runner of Starz “Power”, every accomplishment matters. Season 1 finale generated the largest concentration of African American viewership of any scripted premium series in almost a decade. The third season of “Power” delivered a record 8 million multiplatform viewers (Live + SD) per episode* and was the most watched premium television original series in 2016, behind only “Game of Thrones.” The 10-episode fourth season returns on Sunday, June 25th airing all day with a “Power” Play marathon stunt. Note, Starz renewed the drama for season 5.
In an epic deal that could move Kemp from being a rich woman to becoming a wealthy one, it was announced in May that Starz and Lionsgate signed her to an exclusive multi-year overall deal. The collaborative nature of Kemp’s new deal expands her relationship with the company to include Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), which allows Kemp to develop and produce new projects for Starz and other content through her End of Episode production company, while also continuing to serve in her current role as show runner and executive producer on “Power.”
The Starz deal isn’t vanity but based on the fact that creator, show-runner, and executive Courtney A. Kemp understands the creative and the business side of producing successful television. The press release which accompanied the announcement pretty much acknowledged as much:
“Courtney A. Kemp is the complete show-runner package, and we’re thrilled to continue collaborating with such a creative talent and outstanding producer,” said Chris Albrecht, president and CEO of Starz. “We are proud to see Courtney receive the recognition she deserves in our industry and are pleased the combined ‘power’ of Starz and Lionsgate offers even greater opportunities for her – and us – in the creative community.”
Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs was not short of praise, adding: “We are longtime fans of Courtney’s thanks to her record-breaking series ‘Power’ and delighted to be working with her at the studio going forward. Her new deal shows the ability of our combined company to attract and nurture the top talent in the business.”
As the June 25th date draws closer, the speculative nature of social media is humming. Questions loom about which characters will live or die?
Rewind. Power’s third season ended with an explosive cliffhanger: Lobos’ mole, Mike Sandoval shot and killed Greg, yet Ghost got arrested — by the love of his life, Angela — for a crime that he actually did not commit. Despite the fact that
Ghost and Tommy killed Milan, Tommy secretly decided that they were still going to have designer drugs through the club… without Ghost’s knowledge.
Imagine Ghost behind prison bars for a crime he did not commit. It’s poetic justice and the marketing materials highlight that point. Can Ghost outrun his past? Can he redeem himself—ever?
In an interview this month, Courtney Kemp told TVLine about how important Tommy will become this season. When I interviewed Ms. Kemp in 2016, she confessed that Tommy was her favorite character so it’s no wonder his role has been elevated in terms of the story structure.
Episode 1 of the new season begins hard and fast. “We’re going to go right at [the fact that] Ghost was arrested by Angela,” said Courtney Kemp. “We’re going to right at [the development that] Tommy’s the connect now, and we’re going to right at Tasha having made certain choices having to do with LaKeisha and her own ambitions now being stuck in this role of, ‘Uh-oh, my husband was arrested, my kids are affected, what do I do?’”
Here is what Omari Hardwick (Ghost/James St. Patrick) had to share about working with the boss lady, Courtney Kemp and his character’s growth in season four of Starz “Power.”
What can we expect in season 4?
Changes. Lots and lots of changes. Ghost is going through a lot of changes. Everyone is affected. A lot of his secrets have already slipped out and there will be more. Courtney [Kemp] has always paced the show slow which is done brilliantly. It makes the audience pay attention. The fans have asked me directly which woman will Ghost choose? Angela (Lela Loren) or Tasha (Naturi Naughton)? I know that the people want to know but we can’t answer that, yet.
The way I see it, it was walking into something new with Angela that made him get locked up.
In an interview in Vibe magazine, in 2016, when asked to describe her personality traits with the characters, she said “I think I am probably as calculating as Ghost. I’m probably as in some ways emotionally and romantically immature as Angela,” thoughts?
Interesting. Courtney crafted a complex character in Ghost. He’s three people, essentially. He’s Ghost. He’s James St. Patrick and he’s Jamie. But the real question is who is he?
“Power” season 4 will consist of 10 one-hour episodes. A full weekend ‘Power Play’ marathon begins on Saturday, June 24th at 5 p.m. ET, when the network airs seasons 1-3. Season 4 of “Power” is Sunday, June 25th.
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