Sue Naegle is stepping down from her post as president of HBO Entertainment. I’ve learned that she is segueing into producing with the launch of her own company which will have a three-year first-look deal with HBO. (The network declined comment). This will mark a second career change for Naegle. She was a top TV lit agent at UTA before she was tapped by Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo to succeed Carolyn Strauss as HBO’s top development executive in 2008 at a transitional time for the premium cable network, which had been struggling to find new hits post-Sopranos and Sex And The City. Naegle nurtured True Blood, which she sold as an agent just before joining HBO, and was instrumental in bringing in such HBO series as mega hit Game Of Thrones and the watercooler darling Girls. However, I hear she felt there was a significant overlap in the HBO executive suite, with President of Programming Lombardo also very hands-on in series development. Rumors about a possible Naegle departure started earlier in the summer. I hear Naegle, who has a good relationship with Plepler and Lombardo, recently started conversations with the duo about her future as her contract was coming up next year. I hear she expressed her concerns about continuing in her position where she felt squeezed, and the three came up with the plan for her to stay on as a producer. Naegle will segue into producing immediately. She is expected to hire another executive, with her development expected to be exclusive to HBO in the premium cable arena. In the wake of her departure, SVPs Casey Bloys, a respected HBO veteran, and Michael Ellenberg, whom Naegle brought in two years ago, may get expanded responsibilities. Naegle’s predecessor, Strauss, also segued to a producing deal with HBO, serving as an executive producer on Game Of Thrones and Treme.
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