HBO’s Scheffer passes baton

Cabler gives Akselrad a boost

Steve Scheffer, a 27-year HBO veteran, is vacating his post as president of film programming, video and enterprises, handing off the duties to Harold E. Akselrad, who’ll continue as general counsel and exec VP of business affairs.

Akselrad will have a smooth transition into the role because he became “deeply immersed in the studio-output negotiations over the past 17 years,” said HBO chairman-CEO Chris Albrecht.

Scheffer, 67, is voluntarily stepping down, said Albrecht, but “has generously agreed to continue offering the company his invaluable expertise as an internal consultant.”

The contracts for all of HBO’s major theatrical movie deals stretch into the next decade. Included are the pics distributed by Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal, DreamWorks, Regency and New Line.

Movies from these studios have their pay TV premieres on HBO and its Cinemax sibling, which together reach about 38 million subscribers in the U.S.