Showtime Networks CEO Matt Blank has quite a perch in his spacious office on the 16th floor of a highrise at Broadway and 50th Street. From one end, he can peer down through the heart of Times Square and all the way down to Herald Square on a clear day. On the other side, the view encompasses the edge of Rockefeller Center and the hub of media companies along Sixth Avenue. “There’s always so much activity in Times Square,” Blank says. “It’s a good stimulant for being in business.” Blank is marking his 20th year as Showtime CEO, and he’s spent almost as much time in his current office space. He’s redecorated a few times, but always leans toward a clean and spare design accented with a few awards (Emmys, Peabodys, etc), and a generous assortment of family photos.
The first thing you notice is the multitude of screens: A console housing three large TVs takes up most of one wall. Two are always tuned to Showtime’s main channel and the Showtime-managed Smithsonian Channel, plus at least two computer screens are on at any given time, on top of his beloved iPad. “I’m a multitasker,” he confesses. And an early riser. He usually gets to the office around 7:30 a.m. to watch screeners followed by a check-in with “CBS This Morning” or CNBC.
Blank’s main workspace is a large rectangular desk topped with zinc to give it a cool-to-the-touch feel. It’s large enough to accommodate five other people comfortably in the bright blue, ’50s modern chairs that line the other side, which makes it the prime spot for meetings with his New York-based senior team. “One of the things I love about this company is that even with all of our growth, we’re still a small company,” he says. “We don’t have loads of formal staff meetings but we talk every day.”
Blank has spent his lifetime in the business, but memorabilia tends to come and go from his office. At present he has an unrivaled collection of “Dexter” bobbleheads as well as a signed boxing glove from Floyd Mayweather, the victor in the massive pay-per-view boxing match that Showtime presented in tandem with HBO on May 2. One item he’s always retained, though, is a small vase featuring a stylized image of a TV set. “It was a birthday gift from a friend years ago,” he says. “I’ve always loved it.”
2012 was a big year for him: Showtime won its first best drama series Emmy for “Homeland,” and his beloved New York Giants won the Super Bowl. He had his tickets to both events encased in glass in order to keep them prominently displayed on his desk.
UNDER THE HOOD
In a corner next to a sofa and upholstered chair Blank has a low coffee table made out of the hood of a 1960s Ford Bronco, complete with the seam down the middle. The bold blue-ish black coloring is a nice contrast to the grays and earth tones elsewhere in the office. “It’s important to have some color around,” he says.