New York -- In a big reorganization last week, John
Matoian, president of HBO Pictures, exited his post, and his duties will now fall under
Chris Albrecht, president of HBO Original Programming.
HBO rising star Albrecht is adding HBO Original Movies --
which includes Matoian's former HBO Pictures and HBO NYC -- to his responsibilities.
Among his successes, Albrecht helped to lead HBO into the original-drama series category
with critically acclaimed shows Oz and The Sopranos.
HBO said it was looking to consolidate its programming
units, including original movies, under one person. As a result, Albrecht was given the
job, and Matoian decided not to renew his contract, which had six months to go.
HBO's original-programming efforts have expanded so
much that one point-person was needed to keep an eye on all of the activity, according to
HBO chairman Jeff Bewkes. For example, HBO is now doing 10 to 12 original movies per year,
compared with seven to nine several years ago, he added.
"HBO has added a lot to its original-programming
activity over the past couple of years," Bewkes said. "There's a lot going
on here. Because of that, it's a logical time and more manageable to have it all go
under one person. It helps to have an overview of all of the different things that
we're doing and to have a total picture of what HBO is as a service."
Bewkes, pointing to Albrecht's stellar track record
during his 15-year tenure at HBO, said the executive deserved the job of overseeing the
consolidated program units, including original movies.
Under the new structure, Matoian would have had to report
to Albrecht, which he found unacceptable.
HBO officials lauded Matoian's track record. HBO won
10 Emmy Awards and six Golden Globes during his tenure, with made-for-TV movies such as Don
King and Gia. Bewkes noted that in particular, Matoian brought HBO's
biopics to a new level and explored new genres in terms of original movies.
Albrecht pointed out that HBO spends several hundred
million dollars per year on original programming, and that kind of investment warrants
having one person overseeing all of the projects.
"There has to be an integrated strategy between all of
the different pieces of programming," he said. "We want them all to
In terms of fulfilling subscriber needs, for example,
Albrecht said there needs to be one person looking at HBO's programming to determine
whether it's hitting all of its subscriber segments, with movies and shows that run a
gamut and hit different audiences.
Colin Callender, formerly executive vice president of HBO
NYC, was also promoted to the post of president of HBO Original Movies, which includes HBO
NYC, effective immediately. He reports to Albrecht.