Starz has named former Sony Pictures TV publicity executive Lauren Townsend as EVP Communications. She replaces Theano Apostolou, who has served in the position for Starz since 2013. Apostolou announced in December that she was leaving the premium cabler but would stay on until a successor was named.
Based in the company’s Los Angeles office, Townsend will have direct oversight of all media relations initiatives for Starz, including corporate communications, international, affiliate and external affairs, government relations and pro-social outreach, program publicity, talent relations, special events and awards campaigns. She will serve as chief press officer and spokesperson for the company, reporting directly to Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht.
Townsend most recently served as VP Media and Talent Relations at Sony Pictures TV, overseeing domestic and international publicity and talent relations. She was responsible for developing the communications roadmap for all of SPT’s scripted and unscripted series including such titles as The Good Doctor, Better Call Saul, The Crown, Sneaky Pete, The Goldbergs, One Day at a Time and Shark Tank, as well as movies, miniseries, first-run syndication and international distribution across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms worldwide. She also oversaw special projects for the studio including awards campaigns, pro-social outreach, merchandising & licensing publicity and more, identifying and creating strategic partnerships and promotional opportunities for the studio and its series, managing a team of publicists globally and coordinating strategy and efforts across various teams including marketing, research, programming, distribution and corporate communications, among others.
Townsend also previously served as principal/CEO at lifestyle PR firm Townsend Olmstead Media Co. which she co-founded; interim Director of Drama Publicity at Warner Bros. Television and; senior press manager at NBC Universal.
“We have had the privilege of working with Lauren on the Starz Original series Outlander while she was at Sony, and I’m thrilled to officially welcome her to our team as we continue to grow our original programming with both scripted and unscripted stories,” said Albrecht. “Lauren’s extensive publicity experience in consumer, trade and business press will play a critical role in shaping the corporate messaging for the network and company. She’s an excellent addition to the senior team.”