HBO has shuffled its exec ranks in the wake of top programming executive Michael Lombardo’s exit. Casey Bloys has been named the new programming president for the premium cable network. Lombardo is segueing to a producing deal with the cabler.
Bloys, who will report directly to chairman and CEO Richard Plepler, will take on oversight of all programming for HBO and Cinemax, including HBO Films, HBO Sports, HBO Documentaries and Family and HBO Entertainment.
Bloys was promoted to president of series, late-night and specials back in January from his post as comedy chief, in the wake of Michael Ellenberg’s ouster as drama head. He joined the company in 2004 in the HBO Independent Productions unit, and moved to the programming side in 2006.
Among the executives now reporting to Bloys are HBO Films president Len Amato; HBO Miniseries and Cinemax programming president Kary Antholis; HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson; and HBO Documentaries and Families president Sheila Nevins.
“It goes without saying that Mike’s contributions over these many years, most especially in the last nine as President of Programming, have been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Plepler. “I believe it’s fair to say that his brilliant work will stand the test of time and his tenure will be recognized as second to none.”
He added, “We are very fortunate that Casey will assume the role of President, HBO Programming. He has the deepest respect and admiration of our colleagues inside the company as well as throughout the creative community.”
Variety first reported last week that Lombardo would depart his post as the network’s programming president, which he had held since 2007. It is understood that Lombardo was not pushed to leave, though HBO has faced significant recent pressure on the original-programming front in recent months. The network confirmed this year that its most watched series, “Game of Thrones,” will end after two additional seasons following its current sixth. Meanwhile, the network’s development pipeline has seen several drama-series projects delayed or halted in the last year.
Since Bloys’ January promotion, HBO has ordered two new drama series, “The Deuce” from exec producer James Franco and “Sharp Objects” from exec producers Gillian Flynn and Marti Noxon. It has also taken steps to correct course on troubled projects “Westworld” and “Lewis & Clark,” temporarily suspending production on the former and setting the latter for redevelopment.
Lombardo guided HBO through a major transition following the ends of “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” the two series that put the network on the original-programming map. Among the Emmy winners developed on Lombardo’s watch are “Game of Thrones,” “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” “Girls,” “True Detective,” “True Blood,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Lombardo was an HBO veteran, having joined the network in 1983 and risen to head programming in the wake of the departure of former CEO Chris Albrecht. A lawyer by training, he was named executive vice president of business affairs, production and programming operations in 2003.