Michael Lombardo, HBO president behind Game of Thrones, steps down

He oversaw the induction of shows including Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and Girls

HBO programming president Michael Lombardo is to step down after a 33-year tenure with the premium network.

Variety reports that, despite 'unusual' pressure in recent months, Lombardo's decision to step down was his own. He has been in this current role for just under a decade.

Lombardo's time at HBO saw the introduction of acclaimed shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Girls, True Detective and, perhaps most successfully, Game of Thrones.

Other properties to have been inducted onto the channel with Lombardo in charge include True Blood, The Leftovers, and Veep.

Taking over the role in 2007, Lombardo was tasked with leading the channel into a new generation following the climax of The Sopranos.

The past few years saw a few obstacles for the network. The second season of Nic Pizzolatto's True Detective failed to match the success of its predecessor (starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey) while the recent Martin Scorsese-produced drama Vinyl fell flat critically and commercially; Terence Winter has been replaced as showrunner for the series' follow-up.

With the end of Game of Thrones reportedly two seasons away, pressure will soon be on the channel to find a replacement as globally successful. Upcoming shows include Gillian Flynn adaptation Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams, and James Franco's The Deuce from The Wire writer David Simon; Lewis & Clarke - produced by Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, and Edward Norton - and fantasy series Westworld are also on the horizon despite production halting on both shows back in 2015.

Lombardo joined HBO in 1983. There is no word on who his replacement will be but whoever it is, they'll have a tough job making as big an imprint as Lombardo has.

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