Michael Rosenthal

Greenburg out at HBO

Ross Greenburg, who has overseen boxing coverage as president of HBO Sports since September 2000, announced today that he is resigning.

HBO received a significant blow when promoter Bob Arum turned to rival Showtime for the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight in May, although it’s not clear whether that has anything to do with Greenburg’s departure.

“This was a difficult decision that I have been contemplating for some time,” Greenburg said in a prepared statement. “It has been a glorious 33 years at HBO, but it felt like the right moment for me to focus my time and energy on developing projects that are particularly interesting to me. 

“I would like to thank the many dedicated and talented men and women who have been a part of HBO Sports over the years. Because of their hard work and creativity, HBO Sports has been recognized among the best programmers and producers in every form of sports television.”

HBO Co-President Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo, President of HBO Programming, acknowledged Greenburg’s impact.

 “We believe that Ross’ track record speaks for itself,” they said in the statement. “He has helped redefine the sports programming genre and set an extraordinary standard of excellence in the industry. We will miss his leadership, vision, creativity and passion for sports television.”

Greenburg joined HBO Sports in 1978 as an Assistant to the Producer.  He was named a Senior Vice President and the Executive Producer of HBO Sports in October of 1994.  He has been at the helm of the sports division for the past 11 years, overseeing boxing, documentaries and specials, magazine shows and reality series.

Greenburg helped redefine and reinvigorate the genre of sports documentaries.  His unusual storytelling work includes the 1991 and 1992 Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documentaries "When It Was a Game" and "When It Was a Game II."  HBO has won the Sports Emmyfor Outstanding Documentary each of the past four years.  Earlier this year, the HBO presentation of “Lombardi” was awarded the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Documentary while “Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals” was named a Peabody Award winner.  He also served as co-executive producer with Billy Crystal for the 2001 HBO Films presentation 61.

Greenburg has won more than 85 major television sports awards, including 51 Sports EmmyAwards and eight George F. Peabody Awards.

In 1995, Greenburg created “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” one of the leading sports journalism program on television. 

Early in his career, Greenburg produced more than 200 of the most-celebrated prizefights in modern history.  In the 1980s, these fights included the classic matchups of Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, and Hearns vs. Hagler; the meteoric rise of Mike Tyson and many others.  In the 1990s, Greenburg oversaw the production of the memorable matchups between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe, and most of the biggest of fights of Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Lennox Lewis. 

He revolutionized the way the sport was covered on television, and many of his innovations – such as overhead cameras, microphones in the corners and simultaneous translations of non-English-speaking trainers – are standards for boxing coverage today.

 The highest-performing pay-per-view event in history took place on Greenburg’s watch, the 2007 fight between De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., which generated 2.44 million buys. 

In addition, Greenburg launched the all-access reality series franchise “24/7” in 2007 and it was Greenburg and his team that joined forces with NFL FILMS to produce “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens” in 2001.  The series reached new heights in 2010 with the New York Jets.

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