Chris Albrecht placed on administrative leave at Legendary – The Hollywood Reporter

Chris Albrechtthe former chairman of HBO and current president of Legendary televisionhas been placed on administrative leave, the company says.

The suspension comes as a forthcoming book, It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO by Felix Gillette and John Koblin, reveals new details about how Albrecht allegedly humiliated an employee who left HBO following a settlement brokered by HBO. (Albrecht’s representative denies the allegations.)

A Legendary spokesman said Monday that Albrecht has been placed on leave and declined to comment further.

According to an early draft of the book reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, the authors describe a previously reported allegation that Albrecht strangled Sasha Emerson, a former executive and rising star at HBO in the late 1980s and early 1990s (Albrecht’s representative denies the allegation). The incident, which allegedly took place in her office in the summer of 1991, months after Albrecht and Emerson, who were both married at the time, ended their consensual affair, according to the book. Immediately after, Emerson recounted the incident to a friend as well as to HBO’s Michael Fuchs. A police report was never filed.

“After more than 30 years, an old, flawed story is now being renovated and reused for the sake of sales. I have sincerely apologized to those whom I have offended with disrespect and completely unacceptable behaviour. But it doesn’t sell books or create media attention. Some things actually age well; but poor reporting does not,” Albrecht said in a statement THR.

Emerson, after mediation with HBO, took a settlement and left the network, the book notes. The settlement was never disclosed to the HBO board, and Emerson’s departure was not explained internally, according to the book. Afterwards, Albrecht was moved to report to Bridget Potter. (​A representative for Albrecht says the director’s reporting structure never changed and that he always reported to Potter). Albrecht was at the time responsible for the originals and worked with Emerson at HBO Independent Productions (Roc, Martin).

It’s not TVNov. 1 via Penguin Random House, reveals through extensive reporting and interviews with at least one witness that Albrecht would disparage Emerson in meetings with TV writers and producers after her exit in behavior one staffer called “vile.” (Albrecht’s representative denies the claim.)

A TV writer close to Emerson said in the book that HBO rewrote the narrative when there was a “campaign to black her out” and paint her as a “chaotic, troubled person” when she took a “very unfair solution”. .” That Los Angeles Times reported in 2007 that she received at least $400,000.

Emerson, who spoke to the authors of the book, said that years later, she still can’t stand feeling anything that constricts her throat, including the strap of a bike helmet.

In the book, Albrecht – via his lawyer – disputes what happened in Emerson’s office in the summer of 1991. “He rejects and disagrees with the characterization of what happened” and declined to comment further.

The book also reviews Albrecht’s public arrest after he was seen by police strangling his then-girlfriend Karla Jensen in Las Vegas. The incident prompted Albrecht to step down from his role at HBO.

After a long and successful tenure at Starz, Albrecht became promoted to run Legendary Television in early 2021, when he was tasked with leading the international and domestic arms of the Wanda Group-controlled studio. He first joined Legendary in December 2019 after being pushed out at Starz after a 10-year stint leading the premium cable network. That’s what sources said at the time mutual matches between Albrecht and new corporate parent Lionsgate led to his ouster. Albrecht has since struck deals with foreign companies to develop premium scripted programs and handed out a few domestic scripted deals as his tenure has been unremarkable so far. It is also worth noting that at the time of his hiring at Legendary, a handful of creators and executives were vocal that they did not want to work with Albrecht, whose past history with women was the subject of coverage in the tabloids as well as in the entertainment press.

Updated at 7:03 PM PT: This story has been updated with a new statement from Albrecht.

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