The past year has seen a fair share of turnover at HBO, with CEO Chris Albrecht leaving in 2007 after he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend followed by the channel’s president, Carolyn Strauss, departing 10 months later. Now the president of the channel’s original movies division, HBO Films, is also out.
But why is this a bigger problem than just another defection? HBO Films is still producing award-winning material while many of the channel’s new series are struggling to connect with viewers, attracting roughly 1 million viewers each while former hits like Six Feet Under and Sex and the City posted an average of 5-7 million viewers in their heyday.
And the departing head of HBO Films, Colin Callender, has shepherded the division for 21 years, during which time he’s helped HBO dominate the made-for-tv movie and miniseries awards categories.
Here’s more from The New York Times:
Colin Callender, who as president of HBO Films oversaw projects that won more than 80 Emmys and two dozen Golden Globe awards, will leave HBO by the end of the year to start his own entertainment production company, he announced Tuesday…
In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Callender said the decision “was entirely of my own making” and not related to any HBO executive decisions. “They wanted me to stay on at the company,” he said. “But I’ve had this growing feeling over the last year or so that there are growing opportunities in the marketplace.”
After the noteworthy performance of HBO’s latest projects at the Emmy awards, “it seemed to me this is the perfect time to move on.”
Meanwhile HBO, unsurprisingly, remains optimistic about the channel’s future in mini-series like the Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg produced 10-part World War II mini-series “Pacific theatre.” It’s also the most expensive project undertaken by the network, according to one of HBO’s execs.
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