50 Cent and Starz’s lovers-to-enemies storyline started in 2018 when he signed on to a lucrative multi-series deal to executive produce the Power universe. Fast-forward three years, and the rapper turned producer threatened to exit his deal with the Lionsgate-owned cable company over creative differences and failure to renew Power spinoff Book IV: Force, the latest iteration of the popular franchise. On March 9, it was announced that Power Book IV: Force was renewed for a second season, with 50 Cent still tapped to executive produce. However, if history is any indication, his battle with Starz may still be far from over. How did he go from striking a fortuitous contract to posting Instagram stock photos of people packing their bags and leaving? We break down the timeline of 50 Cent’s tumultuous relationship with Starz below.
Curtis Jackson “50 Cent” inked a four-year deal with Starz that was reportedly worth up to $150 million. In a meeting with Chris Albrecht, the CEO of Starz, “he let me know I was essentially requesting the biggest deal in premium cable history,” Jackson said. The deal was a behemoth at the time; it included a three-series commitment, granted Jackson and his company G-Unit Film & Television, Inc. access to all Starz and Lionsgate platforms, and allocated a discretionary fund that the producer could use for G-Unit projects. “He is the real deal, and we have given him a real deal, with what I believe to be among the most significant deals to date for an Executive Producer in premium television,” Albrecht said.
Starz greenlit a straight-to-series order of Black Mafia Family, the story of Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, two brothers who rise to influence in the drug trade in 1980s Detroit. “I told you Black Mafia Family was coming and it’s going to be the biggest show on television,” Jackson said.
G-Unit Film & Television added two new shows to its collaboration with Starz, the story of sports agent Nicole Lynn and an anthology titled Moment in Time: The Massacre, which would explore the backstories behind iconic hip-hop moments.
The cracks start to appear in Jackson’s collaboration with Starz. The rapper accidentally leaked confidential information about Patina Miller’s role on Power Book II: Kanan. He claimed the network was mad at him over the leak, before posting an Instagram photo of a face-palming lion where he wrote,” this shit is a mess.”
Jackson called out a continuity editing fail when he noticed that Ella McFair (Andrea Bordeaux) was missing a pair of gold earrings from one scene to the next in an episode of Run the World. The gold-earring blunder compelled Jackson to speak out against the network. In a now-deleted post, the executive producer narrated over the scene: “Starz needs me! It don’t come out right when I’m not involved.” In the caption, he wrote: “EARRINGs, No Earrings EARRINGs, No Earrings, No Earrings EARRINGS. LMAO.”
Jackson labeled Starz “a shit show” after episode seven of Black Mafia Family aired ahead of its schedule time. The producer escalated his beef with the network after reports that Lionsgate was considering selling Starz and taking it in a different direction. “Starz is a sh** show, they better sell it fast,” Jackson wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. “They put the f****** BMF show on, then took it down. what network does sh** like that? They just ruined the anticipation of The episode i directed, I WORKED HARD ON THIS. I can’t work with these people anymore.” Jackson continued lambasting the network in a follow-up post that featured a still of rapper Eminem playing White Boy Rick in BMF. “Episode 7 of BMF is the best work I have done directing to date. I’m disappointed that STARZ handled this so poorly,” he wrote.
November 18 2021
Despite Jackson’s ongoing battle with Starz, the network ordered a documentary companion to BMF that named Jackson as executive producer once again. The eight-episode docuseries touted a look into the real story of the Flenory brothers that the scripted show was based on. “The docuseries will offer an inside look at different perspectives from all of those involved, BMF — Blowing Money Fast,” Jackson said.
March 2 2022
In March, Jackson issued the most prominent condemnation of Starz to date. In a series of five Instagram posts depicting stock photos of luggage and a video of a man packing up, he asserted that he was on the verge of leaving his Starz deal altogether. “They Renewed High town and FORCE is the highest rated show they have it sitting in limbo. If I told you how much dumb shit I deal with over here. 🤦♂️,” Jackson wrote in a caption. Joseph Sikora, who stars as Tommy Egan in the Power spinoff, reacted in the comments with a traffic light emoji: “FORCE 🚦,” he wrote. The outcry comes after Starz failed to renew Power Book IV: Force for season two. The posts may signify the denouement of years of conflict with the cable network, but it’s still too early to say whether or not Jackson will make good on his promise to exit the deal.
March 9 2022
Starz renewed Power Book IV: Force for a second season after Jackson accused the network of letting the show sit in “limbo.” He took to Instagram to post a video of Fat Tony actor Josh Lettiere telling Starz 50 Cent is the “Rocky Balboa of the industry,” with a caption reading, “Don’t wanta be on the wrong side of history.” Jackson is still slated to executive produce, meaning he will have to unpack his bags and settle back down into his lucrative G-Unit television deal.