Albrecht is the former Chairman and CEO of HBO. He spent 22 years at HBO and was credited for ushering in the “Golden Age” of television with hit series such as “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Deadwood,” “Six Feet Under,” “Entourage,” “Band of Brothers” and “The Wire.”
Albrecht founded Foresee Entertainment, an independent content creation, development and distribution company, in 2008. Albrecht was the president of IMG Global Media and IMG Entertainment, subsidiaries of the IMG production company, from September 2007 until August 2008. Albrecht was also a Special Limited Partner in Forstmann Little & Company.
Albrecht began performing at the Improv in New York city with his then-partner Bob Zmuda. He then became a manager at the club. He did so well that the Friedmans sold a portion of the business to him, which he ran from 1975 to 1980. He would later become an agent at International Creative Management (ICM), where he was instrumental in signing such talent as Jim Carrey, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg.
Albrecht began working at HBO in June 1985 as senior vice president, original programming, West Coast. Before becoming Chairman in 2002, he spent seven years as president of HBO Original Programming, where he directed day-to-day operations of West and East Coast original programming for HBO, Cinemax and HBO Independent Productions and also oversaw HBO Sports and HBO Film Programming. From 1990 to 1995, Albrecht was President of HBO Independent Productions and oversaw development and production of comedy series for distribution on HBO and the networks, including Martin and Everybody Loves Raymond. Under his leadership, HBO became the leader in innovative entertainment and sports programming with critically acclaimed series like Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Band of Brothers, The Wire and Entourage among many others.
In September 2007, Albrecht signed a three-year deal with IMG in September to serve as head of IMG Global Media and a special limited partner in Forstmann Little & Company, the private equity firm headed by Ted Forstmann that owns IMG. Albrecht and Forstmann planned to raise a $250 million fund for investments in media and entertainment content. In a statement released by IMG on August 12, 2008, Albrecht’s departure was blamed on the firm’s inability to raise those funds.
On January 1, 2010 Albrecht joined Starz, LLC as its President and CEO. He oversees all of the Starz entities, including Starz Entertainment, Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Film Roman. Starz, LLC, is a controlled subsidiary that operates Starz Media and Starz Entertainment. Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States with 17 movie channels including the flagship STARZ and STARZ ENCORE brands with approximately 24 million and 32 million subscribers respectively.
Two years after joining Starz, Albrecht and Liberty Media announced that it would spin-off Liberty Starz into a separate public company; the transaction included about $1.5 billion of debt. The spin-off of the subsidiary was expected to be completed by the end of 2012, but was actually completed on January 11, 2013. As a result of the spin-off, Liberty Starz changed its name to "Starz Inc." The new stock rose 9.8% on its first day of trading.
Albrecht's contract was renewed as CEO of Starz through 2020. The title of President was added effective July 1, 2016. On June 30, 2016, Lionsgate agreed to acquire Starz Inc. for $4.4 billion in cash and stock.
Albrecht was born July 24, 1952, in the borough of Queens in New York City, where he was also raised. He graduated from Hofstra University, earning his degree in Dramatic Literature. When he completed college, Albrecht set his sights on becoming a stage actor. He appeared in a few summer stock productions, but struggled to find work even Off-Broadway.
In 1981, he married his first wife, Annie Albrecht, with whom he had two daughters, Kate (born 1984), an interior designer, enterpreneuer, writer, actress, and Tess. They divorced in 2000 after 19 years of marriage.
In 2011, Albrecht married Montana Coady who is 34 years his junior. They wed in front of 250 guests including Larry David, Billy Crystal, Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Brad Grey, Chris Rock and Les Moonves. His groomsmen included Hollywood and media power players Brian Grazer, Steve Bing and Jeff Bewkes. At the ceremony and Beverly Hills Hotel reception, Coady wore Monique Lhuillier and Marchesa. Albrecht and Coady divorced in 2015.
In 2007, Albrecht was arrested for assaulting his then-girlfriend in the valet parking area of the MGM Grand. Time Warner, the parent company of HBO, requested Albrecht's resignation. Albrecht complied, amidst accusations of another domestic dispute from the early 90s.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in 1991, HBO paid a settlement of at least $400,000 to Sasha Emerson, a subordinate of Albrecht who had accused him of choking her during a confrontation in her office. In an email to HBO employees, Albrecht blamed his behavior on alcoholism.Albrecht co-founded Comic Relief, which in its 25 years has raised more than $50 million to benefit the homeless, including those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. For a decade, he raised funds for the Los Angeles’ Shelter Partnership by enlisting celebrities like George Carlin, Bill Maher and Lewis Black.
Albrecht founded and chaired the Rally to Save Ahmanson Ranch, 3,000 acres (12 km2) of California wilderness formerly threatened by commercial development. In partnership with the NRDC, Heal the Bay, The Sierra Club and other organizations, this effort succeeded in preventing development and turned the land into a State Park. Heal the Bay honored Albrecht with its Walk the Talk Award for his leadership in saving Ahmanson Ranch.
Albrecht co-chairs a $250 million fundraising campaign for Children's Hospital Los Angeles along with Mary Hart.
In 2001, the International Cinematographers Guild presented Albrecht with the Television Showmanship Award.
In 2003, Variety magazine named Albrecht "Showman of the Year".
In 2006, Albrecht was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
Albrecht holds a BA degree in dramatic literature from Hofstra University in New York. He has subsequently started the Chris Albrecht Endowed Scholarship for the School of Communications at his alma mater.