Callender Exits HBO for Own Company

Oct 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Colin Callender, longtime head of HBO’s award-winning movie and miniseries operation, is leaving the network to set up his own entertainment and content company.
The departure is the latest in a series of changes at the network since last year, when former CEO Chris Albrecht was forced out following a widely publicized public altercation with his girlfriend, and comes as the network is looking for ways to recapture the buzz it used to get from such series at “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”
HBO execs Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo were put in charge of programming after Mr. Albrecht left, bypassing Mr. Callender, president of HBO Films, and Carolyn Strausss, who had been in charge of series as president of HBO Entertainment. Ms. Strauss left HBO in March. In April, Sue Naegle was hired from UTA to be president of HBO Entertainment.
With Mr. Callender gone, Kary Antholis becomes president of HBO Miniseries and Len Amato was named president of HBO Films. Both report to Mr. Lombardo, president of the programming group and West Coast operations.
Under Mr. Callender, who originally joined HBO in 1987, HBO movies and miniseries regularly racked up unprecedented numbers of awards. This year, HBO won a record-breaking 13 Emmys for “John Adams,” including best miniseries, and three for “Recount,” including outstanding made-for-television movie.
“This past year at HBO Films has been nothing less than extraordinary, and it’s the perfect time for me to move on to a new challenge,” said Mr. Callender. “My career has been shaped by the one constant in this industry—change—and for some time I’ve had a hankering to return to my entrepreneurial roots. With the industry in the midst of a major transformation, and coming off this great year, I can’t think of a better time to launch my own company.”
Over his career at HBO, Mr. Callender won 84 Emmys, 26 Golden Globes, 9 Peabodys, 12 Humanitas Awards, as well as top honors at the Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.
“Colin’s contributions over these many years have been nothing short of extraordinary,” says Richard Plepler, co-president, HBO. “His vision, intelligence and unique talent are responsible for the widespread acclaim his films and miniseries receive year after year. We will certainly miss him and hope and expect to have a continued collaboration with Colin and his new company.”


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