HBO has signed the sports chief at premium network rival Showtime to head its sports unit.
Veteran sports television executive Ken Hershman will join the pay TV leader in January as president of HBO Sports, succeeding Ross Greenburg, who left in July.
News of Hershman's hire was first reported by B&C .
In his new job, Hershman, who had been serving as executive vice president and general manager of sports and event programming at Showtime since October 2003, will be responsible for the strategic direction and overseeing the HBO Sports division, including the boxing franchise and pay-per-view business. The HBO Sports portfolio includes the Emmy-winning journalism program Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel; the Peabody Award-winning Legends & Legacies documentary unit; and reality franchises Hard Knocks and 24/7.
Hershman officially starts his new job on Jan. 9, 2012, reporting to Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming.
"Richard [Plepler, HBO co-president] and I believe that Ken is a perfect fit for HBO Sports," said Lombardo in announcing the hire. "He has a deep and thorough understanding of the sport of boxing and that background will be invaluable as he transitions to his role at HBO. Ken has demonstrated a capacity to think outside the box, and the combination of his experience and reputation make him the ideal executive addition to HBO's already stellar sports department."
Noted Hershman, "Working at Showtime was an amazing experience, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have developed countless friendships and relationships across the organization. While I am sure that I will miss them all, I am excited by the opportunity to join the team at HBO and contribute to one of television's most dynamic companies."
Showtime issued the following statement: "Sports has been an important part of our content lineup at Showtime for many years. We have a great team and great programming in place and our commitment to sports remains strong. We have no announcement about a successor at this time, when we do we will let everyone know."
Greenburg, who had spent 33 years at HBO, serving as the programmer's sports president since September 2000.