Deciphering HBO’s new order

Interesting that Variety’s Peter Bart and the New York Times’ David Carr (Carpetbagger no more) had much the same take on the recent restructuring at HBO that saw five executives expand their domains in the wake of Chris Albrecht’s hasty departure as CEO.

Says Carr:

Still, the co-presidency seems far more like a Hollywood sort of solution, where titles are handed out like bonbons, than an effort to maintain a network’s reputation for artistic and commercial decisiveness. In a telephone interview on Friday afternoon, Mr. Bewkes seemed amazed that people who watch the company would assign so much meaning to titles.

Says Bart:

I have nothing against teamwork, but I worry about the consequences of group-think in businesses that are dependent on risk-taking. Tastes are changing, technology is shifting and the gambles on movies and TV shows are becoming exponentially more expensive. Doesn’t that suggest that bold leaders are needed to make tough decisions? Or does it suggest the exact opposite: The only way to survive in corporate Hollywood is to hunker down amid a thicket of committees so that no single individual takes the heat for bad decisions? Or, more probably, for indecision.

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