No Albrecht means no move to Santa Barbara

HBO has no plans to conduct its U.S. Comedy Arts Festival next year in Santa Barbara, where it had been widely speculated to land.

In an email sent earlier in the month to Santa Barbara city officials, Bob Crestani, who heads the industry-targeted fest, cited the May departure of former HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht — a big supporter of both USCAF and the proposed move to Santa Barbara — as the key reason the event was not moving forward in the beach town.

Crestani added that HBO would re-evaluate its USCAF plans after conducting its more consumer-targeted Las Vegas Comedy Festival in November.

“We looked at Santa Barbara very seriously; we looked at a number of cities very seriously, but we never made a commitment,” said an HBO spokesperson, who added that the fest remains “on the back burner” for now.

The pay-cabler announced in May that it wouldn’t keep the industry-targeted fest in Aspen, Colo., where it had been held for the past 13 years — this followed a 2007 incarnation in early March that was marred by bad weather and flight cancellations, as well as the decision by fest headquarters, the St. Regis Hotel, to go condo.

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