Naegle front-runner for HBO series head


TW entertainment units under scrutiny
Strauss steps down at HBO

UPDATED 4:44 p.m. PT April 8, 2008

The rumor mill has been going in overdrive over the past week with speculation about who would succeed Carolyn Strauss as HBO's top series programmer.

According to sources, the selection process has entered its final stage and UTA partner and co-head of the TV department Sue Naegle has emerged as the front-runner for the entertainment president job Strauss vacated last month.

Naegle is among a slew of A-list names that have been bandied about for the position, including Universal Media Studios' Katherine Pope, USA Network's Jeff Wachtel, AMC's Christina Wayne and Regency TV's Robin Schwartz.

While going for a an agent rather than a network or studio executive to run HBO's series development is unorthodox, Strauss' predecessor in the top programming position, Chris Albrecht, also came to the premium cable network from an agency, ICM, where he had worked for five years.

Naegle is considered one of the top TV lit agents in town. She has a longstanding relationship with HBO -- she put together the package for client Alan Ball's HBO series "Six Feet Under." (Ball now has a new series coming up on HBO, "True Blood.")

She started in the UTA mailroom in 1992 and became the youngest partner at the agency in 1999 when she was 29.