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James Hibberd

And Now, Chris Albrecht

July 12, 2006 8:37 PM

HBO Chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht, in his gray suit, placed his hands on either side of the podium for his executive session Wednesday afternoon.

The Q&A that followed was, as always, an invaluable opportunity for critics to put the ultra confident (some say arrogant) and prickly (some say abrasive) leader of their favorite network on the spot about the fates of their favorite shows.

And, as always, Albrecht’s candor resulted in several newsworthy revelations. Since there’s so much ground to cover, and since nobody can portray Chris Albrecht better than Chris Albrecht, let’s turn it over to him:

– On the fate of the long absent “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: “We thought we would have [a renewal announcement] today, but hopefully there will be a new season of ‘Curb’ in 07.”

– On the lack of “Sopranos” Emmys nominations: “I don’t know what to say.”

– On fan reaction to the “Deadwood” cancellation: “My favorite [email] was ‘May you never take an easy dump again.” He then elaborated: “The amount of email was a fraction of what I got for ‘Carnival’ … there’s a disconnect between what’s written about a show … and what the viewers feel for it.”

– On being interrupted while speaking by a ringing cell phone: “What is that ringing? Do we know? Or is that just in my head?”

– On the much publicized fight with David Milch regarding the fate of Mr. Milch’s “Deadwood,” a fight which began with Mr. Albrecht’s offer for six final episodes, then went public with a battle in the press, then the parties settled on a pair of two-hour movies: “I think we’d all like to revisit a phone call I had with David Milch … I said let’s do six and start the new show [Milch’s “surf-noir” drama “John From Cincinnati”] earlier, because there’s a finite amount of time for him to do all the work he does on the show. David said, ‘[Six] is enough, let’s move on.’ Then he called some actors. Then [the actors] called the press. Then the story got out of hand … I know some people think 12 hours is the exact number to end the show exactly correctly but …”

– On whether he believes he handled the conflict with Mr. Milch correctly. “I thought I handled it great. I think David Milch wishes he had that afternoon back [when I offered the six episodes].”

– On the next year’s final eight episodes of “The Sopranos:” “I have seen the storylines for the final eight. I am absolutely positively certain when the curtain comes down on ‘The Sopranos’ that the vast, vast, vast majority of people will say it’s one of the great things of all time.”

– On an unfortunate critic who asked if Tony Soprano will be killed in the finale: “Are you high? I might as well shoot myself in the head if I told you … I happen to know, and I’m not going to tell you.”

– On “Rome,” which Mr. Albrecht now says will conclude after the upcoming second season: “It’s an enormous undertaking to do a regular series 6,000 miles away. People enjoy talking about the price … but it’s one of the most cost-effective shows we do. The show sells incredibly well overseas.”

– On the Tom Hanks’ John Adams mini-series in development: ”We just had a big, big meeting .. I’m hoping we will announce production soon.”

– On the two vampire projects his network has in development (“True Blood,” a series by “Six Feet Under” creator Alan Ball, and another project that even HBO executives in the back of the TCA auditorium are unsure of the title and details). “’True Blood’ we will definitely do … I don’t know if we can do two vampire projects. Then all you guys will write ‘All HBO does is vampire shows now.’”

– On HBO’s new media plans, or lack of them: “You don’t see studios throwing movies up on iPod and you won’t see HBO throwing shows up on iPod. For our business model, it’s more like a theatrical studio. We need to preserve that subscription and DVD window.”


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Comments (2)


does anybody know when this guy will be speaking again? or how to find out?

Does anyone know how to email Mr. Albrecht about mistakes regarding decision making on HBO shows he's cut?

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