Strauss Steps Down as HBO Entertainment Head

Mar 17, 2008  •  Post A Comment

HBO Entertainment President Carolyn Strauss has vacated that position after four years as the network struggles to replace hit series such as “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” and “Sex and the City.”
Ms. Strauss, who started working for the Time Warner unit in 1986 and was named head of entertainment in 2004, will stay with HBO in a yet-to-be determined capacity. HBO declined to say who’s being considered as a possible replacement.
“No one has made a more significant contribution to the success of HBO than Carolyn,” HBO Co-President Richard Plepler and HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo said in a joint statement. “We are truly delighted that she will continue to be a part of the HBO family.”
Last month, Liberty Media unit Starz overtook HBO in ratings among premium cable channels, posting a 0.7 all-day rating compared with HBO’s 0.6 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Among all cable channels, HBO was tied for 15th with Cinemax as well as with basic-cable channels such as History Channel and Lifetime Movie Network.
Ms. Strauss helped develop or produce “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” among other HBO hits. Her resignation comes a week after the critically acclaimed but low-rated drug drama “The Wire” finished its five-year run on HBO. “The Sopranos” concluded its eight-year run in June, two months before the network canceled its supernatural surf drama “John From Cincinnati” after its final episode was watched by fewer than 1 million viewers. “Deadwood” aired its third and final season in 2006.
HBO management was shuffled in June after then Chairman-CEO Chris Albrecht was forced to resign after he was jailed because of an altercation with his girlfriend in Las Vegas. Albrecht was replaced by HBO Chief Operating Officer Bill Nelson; Mr. Plepler, Harold Akselrad and Eric Kessler were all named co-presidents of the network.
Last month, Time Warner said 2007 content revenue for its networks fell 11% to $115 million, mostly because domestic cable broadcasters paid for a partial year of “The Sopranos” last year, compared to a full year in 2006.

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