RingTV.com has learned that Showtime’s General Manager of Sports, Ken Hershman, will assume the role of President of HBO Sports, taking over the position vacated by Ross Greenburg, who announced his resignation in July after having been at the helm since September of 2000.
It is unclear when the announcement will become official.
“This is an HBO decision, and an internal decision,” said Arum. “HBO is free to appoint anybody it wants in any position that it wants at HBO. Other than that, I have no reaction and no comment.”
[UPDATE] In a subsequent announcement, HBO President of Sports Programming Michael Lombardo, to whom Hershman will report, indicated that Hershman “will be responsible for the strategic direction and overseeing the HBO Sports division, including the boxing franchise and HBO Pay-Per-View.”
The HBO Sports portfolio includes the Emmy-winning journalism program “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” the Peabody Award-winning Legends and Legacies documentary unit and the groundbreaking reality series “Hard Knocks” and the “24/7″ franchise.
“[HBO co-president] Richard [Plepler] and I believe that Ken is a perfect fit for HBO Sports. 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,” said Lombardo.
“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.”
Hershman was in his previous role at Showtime since Oct. 2003, having began at the network in 1992 as counsel of Showtime Networks, Inc.
Hershman moved into a senior programming role in sports and events in January of 2001. Before that, he served as senior vice president, associate general counsel for the network, a position he held since February of 1997.
“Working at Showtime was an amazing experience, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have developed countless friendships and relationships across the organization,” said Hershman.
“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’s Chris DeBlasio, senior director of communication for sports, confirmed Hershman’s leaving for HBO and then read from the following statement issued by the network:
“Sports has been an important part of our content lineup at Showtime for many years,” DeBlasio read.
“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.”
Promoter Lou DiBella, who served as HBO’s senior vice president of programming before leaving the network in 2000, called the move “a good hire.”
“I think that they made a very good choice. I think that Kenny has done a great job and done very well at Showtime Sports, and I think that it’s important to have someone in place who can immediately run with the ball,” said DiBella.
“I think that it’s a relationship business. To learn a new industry and to not have those relationships is a huge disadvantage to somebody. Kenny has those relationships and he has the experience and I think that it was an excellent choice.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org