Stephen Espinoza, most recently a partner at entertainment law firm Ziffren Brittenham, has been tapped as EVP and General Manager of Showtime Sports and Event Programming, the network announced today. He will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the group and its pay-per-view unit; managing relationships with distributors, talent and suppliers; and the acquisition and licensing of programming. The move is the final one in a game of musical chairs that began when longtime HBO Sports chief Ross Greenburg left after 33 years at the premium channel. He was replaced last month by Showtime’s sports head, Ken Hershman, leaving the vacancy at Showtime that Espinoza has now filled. (Greenburg landed last week at a producer at NBC Sports Group.) While at Ziffren Brittenham, Espinoza repped numerous A-list film and TV clients, He also handled boxers Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya and was lead counsel for De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, which makes him a perfect fit for Showtime’s boxing-heavy sports programming that also includes Strikeforce mixed martial arts and Inside The NFL. He also repped Gina Carano, the MMA standout that is now starring in Steven Soderbergh’s fight drama Haywire.
HBO has reached out to rival Showtime for a replacement to Ross Greenburg, who recently left the network after 33 years at the pay cable network — the last 11 as president of HBO Sports. Showtime’s EVP and General Manager Sports Ken Hershman has been tapped as Greenburg’s successor. UPDATE: Here’s HBO’s official release:
NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2011 – Veteran sports television executive Ken Hershman will join HBO in January 2012 as President, HBO Sports, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming, to whom he will report. 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 & Legacies documentary unit; and the groundbreaking reality series “Hard Knocks” and the “24/7” franchise.
“Richard [Plepler, HBO co-president] and I believe that Ken is a perfect fit for HBO Sports,” said Lombardo. “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. 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 joins HBO from Showtime, where he had been the