Richard Plepler
Co-President, HBO
Age: 49
Education: F&M College, B.A.

Michael Lombardo

Title: President, HBO Programming
Age: 41
Education: Cornell, AB; U of CA, Berkeley, JD

Why Them? We planned on 2 curveballs for this slot, and ended with one. Curve 1 was putting Showtime’s Matt Blank ahead of HBO on our list, a decision that split our staff. Second, we were going to feature Colin Callendar, the Brit who’s quietly and successfully headed HBO Films for years. It was Films’ 7-part John Adams that made the ’08 Emmys a great night for HBO. The mini about the second first couple grabbed statues for best miniseries, best actor (Paul Giamatti), best actress (Laura Linney) and best supporting actor (Tom Wilkinson). And it was HBO Films’ account of the hanging chad fiasco, Recount, that took the Emmy for best TV movie. Then in mid-Oct Callendar said he was departing the Box. Our fallback was bosses Plepler and Lombardo, who’ve become HBO’s most public faces.

Clotting Factor: Hard to believe, but the network of The Sopranos and Sex and the City desperately needed a winner to halt its losing streak. Sopranos’ successors John From Cincinnati and Tell Me You Love Me flopped. But this summer’s bayou vampire tale True Blood is averaging nearly 7mln viewers. The losing streak is over.

Year Ahead:
Plepler and Lombardo are on a shopping spree, scanning Hollywood for pilots (yes, times have changed for HBO). Another change — HBO reportedly has a slew of pilots and other shows in development. Something’s gotta work.


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