HBO Hires Hershman for Sports Post

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HBO has signed up the sports chief
from 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 Broadcasting & Cable.

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 oversight of the
HBO Sports division, including the boxing franchise
and pay-per-view business.

The HBO Sports portfolio includes the Emmywinning
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.

While at Showtime Hershman was responsible for
building up the network’s boxing and mixed martial arts
franchises. Earlier this year he successfully outbid HBO for
pay-per-view rights to the May 7 Manny Pacquiao-Shane
Mosley fight and the March 12 Miguel Cotto-Ricardo
Mayorga fight.

He also secured deals with Major League Baseball for
the documentary series The Franchise: A Season With the
San Francisco Giants
, the National Football League for
weekly highlight show Inside the NFL and NASCAR for its
Inside NASCAR weekly highlight series.

“Richard [Plepler, HBO co-president] and I believe that
Ken is a perfect fi t for HBO Sports,” Lombardo said in a
statement about 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.”

Showtime said: “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 spent 33 years at HBO, serving as the programmer’s
sports president for 11 years.

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