Plepler, Lombardo make first appearance
Newly upped HBO execs Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo made their first public appearance Thursday, walking the fine line between lamenting the loss of Chris Albrecht and maintaining that the net will see little change without him.Speaking to reporters during a session at the Beverly Hilton, new programming chief Plepler said, “The mark of a good leader is, Did you leave a place better than you found it?” But he also insisted, “I don’t think there’s an intent to have a strategic shift” in the wake of Albrecht’s departure. Mix of series, movies and special events — and balance among them –would stay the same, he said. Net then went on to present a number of its big bets, including Cynthia Mort and Gavin Polone’s relationship drama “Tell Me You Love Me,” the sixth and potentially final season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and, in an emotional session with veterans, the James Gandolfini Iraq docu “Alive Day Memories.” West Coast chief Michael Lombardo said that he “considers Chris a friend, and it’s been a very difficult transition” but added that he, too, foresaw little change. HBO promoted from within to maintain an image of stability, and execs said their regime would be marked by a hands-off style. “The last thing Michael and I are going to do is impose ourselves (on programmers),” Plepler said. “That would be silly.” But execs were nonetheless in the odd position of presiding over the unveiling of an upcoming slate that had largely come out of the Albrecht era. HBO also made a number of other announcements at TCA.
- Net sounded an ambivalent note about the future of two two-hour “Deadwood” movies, saying that the project could be in jeopardy for a number of reasons, from the fact that the cabler doesn’t have a hold on actors to a busy production schedule for creator David Milch on his current skein, “John From Cincinnati.”
- On the scheduling front, net said that it aims to air Playtone’s WWII mini “The Pacific” in the third quarter of 2009, while the final season of “The Wire” will bow in the first quarter of 2008.
- Cabler is taking its fake-reality game on “Entourage” to a new level, cutting a full trailer for fictional Vincent Chase movie “Medellin” and airing it after the closing credits, as well as, possibly, in other venues.
- HBO is contemplating a one-hour “Extras” special instead of a third season. It is also in separate conversations with star Ricky Gervais about a standup special that would air on the paybox next year.
- As expected, the channel has picked up eight episodes of “How to Look Good Naked,” hosted by Carson Kressley. “Naked” is based on the hit U.K. self-help show of the same name from RDF Media. “Naked” is set to premiere in January.
- Lifetime will saturate its air with telepic “The Murder of Princess Diana” in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of her death on Aug. 31.
- Peter Gallagher, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Kristin Lehmann, Jenna Boyd and Peter Fonda are set to star in “The Gathering,” the four-hour mini from David Eick and John Shiban that will run in October. Also, Charles S. Dutton will direct and star in the original movie “Racing for Time,” set for next year. And the telepic “Custody,” starring Rob Morrow, James Denton and Kay Panabaker, will air throughout the second weekend of September.