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In Defense of Chris Albrecht


Chris Albrecht is my friend, and I'm appalled at the way he has been treated by the press. He is an alcoholic who fell off the wagon and made a terrible mistake. No one is arguing that. What happened outside the MGM Grand is inexcusable -- and Chris has expressed his deep regret about it. But that wasn't enough for those in the press who dug up a 16 year old incident, dusted off the cobwebs covering it, and suddenly created "a pattern" of behavior that required the delivery of Chris' head on a platter.

Chris Albrecht, like the rest of us, is not a perfect person. But he is a brilliant executive who helped turn HBO from a place to watch movies, stand-up comedy, and boxing into the home for some of the most creative and challenging original programming in the history of television. He has an amazing eye for talent, the ability to nurture that talent, and the patience to let outside-the-box shows find their audience. Without him, we wouldn't have had The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, or Everyone Loves Raymond (which HBO produced).

Having worked with HBO a great deal over the years, I can testify that it is not, as has been portrayed in the press, an "old boys' club" -- just ask Carolyn Strauss, Sheila Nevins, or any of the other high-powered female executives who work there.

Ours has traditionally been a very forgiving culture. If Hollywood is going to give Mel Gibson a second chance, and sports fans are going to cheer on stars like Jason Kidd, Latrell Sprewell, and Stephen Jackson who have made similar mistakes, why not Chris Albrecht?