×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Michael Lombardo to Exit as HBO Programming President (EXCLUSIVE)

Michael Lombardo is exiting his post as president of HBO Programming, according to industry sources, ending a 33-year run that made him a major player in the pay TV giant’s growth and evolution.

It’s understood that the decision to step down was Lombardo’s. HBO has been under unusual pressure on the programming front in recent months but sources said Lombardo was not pushed. He’s expected to work out a production pact with the network, a shift he has considered making for some time after nearly a decade at the top of HBO’s vast programming operations.

It’s not immediately clear how HBO will reorganize to fill Lombardo’s responsibilities. He oversees programming for HBO and Cinemax as well as HBO Films, HBO Sports and HBO Documentaries and Family. He also oversees HBO’s marketing, legal and business affairs departments.

During his long tenure, Lombardo spearheaded the team that raked in countless Emmys for such signature HBO series as “Game of Thrones,” “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” “Girls,” “True Detective,” “True Blood,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” On the longform front, HBO’s major productions on his watch included “The Normal Heart,” “Behind the Candelabra,” “Too Big to Fail,” “Grey Gardens,” “Olive Kitteridge,” “Temple Grandin” and “Game Change.”

Lombardo has long been well-liked by HBO talent for his enthusiastic support of the creative process and for his taste in material. But HBO has of late faced some missteps on the programming front. The debut of high-profile drama series “Vinyl” was met with mixed reviews, resulting in a showrunner change for the upcoming second season. The second season of “True Detective” fell flat from a critical perspective, prompting Lombardo to acknowledge that he erred in pushing series creator Nic Pizzolatto to turn around the second edition on a quick timetable.

Last August, HBO abruptly halted production on its long-gestating miniseries “Lewis & Clark” and ousted director John Curran, a costly move as filming the ambitious six-hour production was well under way. Another highly anticipated drama series, “Westworld,” has had numerous production struggles and had to push back its premiere date by months. Drama series “The Leftovers” has struggled to connect with a big audience and will end after its upcoming third season.

With the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” on the horizon, the thin state of HBO’s drama programming has not gone unnoticed in the industry and by TV commentators.

HBO already shook up its programming ranks in January with the departure of drama chief Michael Ellenberg and the promotion of former comedy exec VP Casey Bloys to president of series, late-night and specials. Rumblings about Lombardo’s future have been heard within HBO for several weeks.

Lombardo joined HBO in 1983. A lawyer by training, he rose through the ranks in business affairs. He was named exec VP of business affairs, production and programming operations in 2003. He was promoted to president of programming in 2007 as part of the broader management realignment after the departure of Chris Albrecht as chairman-CEO.

More TV

  • Khloe KardashianKhloe Kardashian, Emma Grede and

    Khloé Kardashian Could Be Next 'Bachelorette,' Says Show Creator Mike Fleiss

    The time has come to choose a new Bachelorette, and “The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss has hinted that Khloe Kardashian may be in the mix. “I have already been in contact with my dear friend @KrisJenner about @khloekardashian as #TheBachelorette,” he tweeted Friday, after tweeting Thursday that “any decision regarding @khloekardashian as the new #TheBachelorette [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content