Michael Lombardo, HBO President To Producer? I Had ‘A Taste Of Being A Creative Executive’

Michael Lombardo worked as the president of programming of HBO for eight years.

That type of upper-level of executive position is a job that many people would probably do almost anything just to get an interview – not to mention get hired to serve. However, after eight years, Lombardo decided to step away from his presidential role in order to embark on a different career path: producer.

During an interview with Deadline, Lombardo made it clear that the timing of his decision was impeccable.

“It was a great time because winning the Emmys had been an enormous achievement in terms of what we have done.”

Lombardo had a lot to celebrate during the Primetime Emmy Awards, especially after HBO swept the top series categories thanks to the success of Veep and Game of Thrones.

In order to maintain that high bar of expectations, Michael Lombardo made a startling realization about his position and future with the network – a discovery that eventually led to his decision to pump the brakes.

“I recognized that going forward, less and less of my time would be spent developing shows, that I would be spending less and less time with talent and more and more of my job is being a studio executive… Spending most of my day managing people, putting out fires and doing what being a corporate executive means.”

Apparently, that was not the life that Lombardo wanted to live for himself any longer – especially since he “had gotten a taste of being a creative executive.” Michael claims that he felt the desire to do more of that type of work.

However, his prominent position at HBO prevented him from exploring those more creative opportunities further – claiming that he was “too far up the totem pole,” for example, to spend quality time with a writer to help dissect a script.

Lombardo still wanted to make sure that business would still flow as usual with his decision, which is why he plotted and planned it beautifully in advance. According to Deadline, he worked alongside HBO chairman Richard Plepler to make sure that there was an “airtight” team in place, which is why they decided to make key changes within the drama and sports teams.

  • Peter Nelson became head of HBO Sports in December
  • Casey Bloys, head of comedy, added heading drama to his plate in January
  • Bloys is now poised to potentially succeed Michael Lombardo as the president of programming

The detailed timeline associated with Michael Lombardo’s exit plan has not been developed yet. The report states that Lombardo will more than likely stay in place until the end of the year. By staying on-board, he will be able to actively assist with the transitions to prevent any unnecessary downtime or discontinuity.

What about his new career path as a producer? Deadline reports that Lombardo is expected to work out a producing agreement with an added consultant aspect allowing him to develop and produce projects for HBO directly as well as alongside HBO with third-party groups. This type of agreement would allow Michael Lombardo to remain within the HBO family – a brand that he admittedly loves and believes in after all these years.

[Image Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]