Richard Plepler is Chairman and CEO of Home Box Office, Inc., responsible for the overall management of the world’s most successful pay TV service, which provides the two television networks – HBO and Cinemax – to 142 million subscribers in over 60 countries and its programming into over 150 countries worldwide. He was named to this position in January 2013.
During his tenure as CEO, Plepler implemented a distribution strategy that stressed optionality for potential HBO subscribers. By expanding the HBO service offerings with the creation of HBO NOW®, the company’s standalone streaming service, and with new digital distributors such as Amazon Channels, Apple, Roku and Hulu, HBO experienced the largest growth in the company’s history.
The multi-lateral approach included international operations as well with standalone services now available across HBO’s footprint in Central Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Nordic countries and Spain. At the same time, HBO has significantly increased indigenous programming in these regions that is incredibly popular among local viewers.
A brand known for excellence, HBO curates over 3000 hours of content on its platforms, including original series, documentaries, HBO Films, and HBO Sports. Under Plepler’s leadership, HBO continues to raise the bar with some of the most innovative, honored and critically respected programming on television. This was recognized with 29 Primetime Emmys® in 2017, the most of any network for the 16th year in a row. HBO won top honors including Outstanding Limited Series (Big Little Lies), Outstanding Variety Talk Series (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), and Outstanding Comedy Series (VEEP). Game of Thrones, HBO’s most viewed series ever, continues to hold the record for the most Emmy Awards ever won by a scripted series with a total of 38 Emmys® to date. Westworld, which debuted in early 2016, is the most-watched freshman series in HBO’s history.
As Co-President from 2007 to 2012, Plepler greenlit some of HBO’s most successful series including Emmy® Award-winners Game of Thrones, Girls, and VEEP, as well as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and The Newsroom. Additional award-winning programs included the miniseries Mildred Pierce and The Pacific along with the films Behind the Candelabra, Too Big to Fail, and Game Change. Plepler also shepherded Cinemax’s first foray into primetime originals with the popular action series Strike Back.
Plepler, who joined HBO in 1992, has received numerous accolades over his career: he has been inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame by The Cable Center in 2018, and Broadcasting and Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2013; named Media Person of the Year by The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2014; earned the Directorate Emmy Award for his impact on the industry from the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2015; the prestigious Driver of Change Award at the FT ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards in 2015; and the Variety Vanguard Award for contribution to the TV business in 2017.
Plepler serves on the Board of Directors for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of Trustees for the Museum of the Moving Image, the Asia Society and the New York Public Library. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.
Plepler resides in Connecticut with his wife Lisa and daughter Eden.