CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

TV and Movies

HBO's chief, the force behind Game of Thrones, to step down

Richard Plepler oversaw HBO's rise to a ratings and awards juggernaut and its transition to a streaming subscription.

Plepler, Kidman and Witherspoon hold Emmys together

HBO chief executive Richard Plepler, here with Big Little Lies stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, oversaw HBO's rise as an awards juggernaut. 

Getty Images

Richard Plepler, the longtime head of HBO who ushered the network to newfound critical and popular dominance with hits like Game of Thrones, is stepping down.  

Plepler, whose departure was announced Thursday, oversaw HBO's rise to dominate television awards ceremonies and audience ratings, most recently with blockbuster, critically praised hits like Game of Thrones. He also spearheaded HBO as one of the pioneers in TVs transition to direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions. HBO was one of the first traditional networks to make its programming available online to people who subscribed directly with its app, rather than requiring a regular pay-TV subscription. 

The announcement comes the same week a court decision lifted the final question marks holding back AT&T from exerting its full control over HBO. AT&T agreed to take over HBO's parent, Time Warner, more than two years ago in an $85 billion deal. But the Department of Justice took the companies to court, hoping to block the merger and, later, appealing to potentially unwind it. The US government lost its appeal Tuesday.

"Hard as it is to think about leaving the company I love, and the people I love in it, it is the right time for me to do so," Plepler said in a memo to employees. 

John Stankey, a veteran AT&T executive who was appointed to lead WarnerMedia last year (becoming Plepler's boss), called him "one of the most successful executives in our industry."

"I have been fortunate to have his support over the last months," Stankey said in statement.