Strauss Exits As HBO Entertainment President

Home Box Office president of entertainment Carolyn Strauss is leaving that post, but will stay involved with the premium network.

Strauss, who joined HBO as an assistant in the original programming department in 1986 before rising through the ranks to her most recent position in 2004, green-lit and helped develop such network-defining shows as The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Six Feet Under.

She had reported to former HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht until his ouster last May over a violent incident involving his girlfriend following a party celebrating the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather boxing match in Las Vegas.

In turn, HBO in June established a four-man executive team to lead the network, which is currently searching for its next big series hit.

COO Bill Nelson was named chairman and CEO in June, supported by three co-presidents, counsel Harold Akselrad, marketing and distribution leader Eric Kessler and programming boss Richard Plepler. Under the restructuring, Michael Lombardo, who had been executive vice president of business affairs, production and programming operations, assumed the second programming position under Plepler, and above both Strauss and HBO Films president Colin Callender.

Plepler and Lombardo, president of the programming group and West Coast operations, issued the following statement: “No one has made a more significant contribution to the success of HBO than Carolyn. We are truly delighted that she will continue to be a part of the HBO family. We cannot imagine HBO without her and we are thrilled that we will continue to have the benefit of her judgment and unique talent.”

Recent series entries by HBO like mystical surfer series John From Cincinnati did not click, while shows like Tell Me You Love Me and In Treatment have received critical acclaim, but not reached a wide audience.