'Fifty Shades of Grey' could have been an explicit TV show on Starz

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We could have had a super explicit Fifty Shades of Grey TV show.

Starz’ CEO Chris Albrecht told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour Friday that he lobbied Universal for the rights to the bestselling S&M book series. His pitch: A three-season TV series where each E L James novel was told over the course of a full season.

Albrecht was originally talking about his upcoming series Outlander, a romantic fantasy (with much softer sexual content than Fifty Shades). Outlander is based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon and each season will roughly follow the course of one of her novels.

“If you read the [Outlander] book, this could only be a series,” Albrecht said. “I’m the guy who called up Universal and said, ‘I’ll get you three years on the air as a series—let’s just do a Fifty Shades of Grey series.’ You don’t have to worry about box office, you don’t have to worry about a rating, you can tell the story the right way. … But movie people think things should be movies, and authors think things should be movies. Because up until recently, movies have been the Tiffany jeweled crown. And certainly from what I see you people writing, that seems to be changing.”

Fifty Shades of Grey is coming to theaters next year, with Universal aiming for an R rating. But some fans of the books would doubtless have preferred Albrecht’s idea—more detailed storytelling with hardly any content restrictions (fans of Spartacus know that Starz will show nude actors doing just about anything short of actual penetrative sex).

Take our poll: Which would you have preferred?


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