Chris Albrecht placed on leave from Legendary Entertainment

Legendary Entertainment President Chris Albrecht has been placed on administrative leave after details of a 1991 incident during his tenure at HBO surfaced in a forthcoming book.

A Legendary representative confirmed that Albrecht is on vacation, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Legendary had no further comment on the matter. But the company’s action follows revelations in a forthcoming HBO story about how the network paid another executive, Sasha Emerson, a settlement of at least $400,000 after she claimed Albrecht pushed and choked her .

At the time of the 1991 incident, Emerson was senior vice president at HBO Independent Productions, reporting directly to Albrecht, the head of programming. The couple had had a consensual affair outside of their marriages.

The book It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO by Felix Gillette and John Koblin reports that Albrecht allegedly slandered Emerson at meetings at the network, then owned by Time Warner, after she left.

The book also claims that HBO’s board of directors was never notified of the settlement and that Emerson’s departure from the company was not explained internally.

Albrecht, 70, denied the new details in the book in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

“After more than 30 years, an old, faulty story is now being processed and recycled for sale. I have sincerely apologized to those I have offended with disrespect and totally unacceptable behavior. But that doesn’t sell books or generate media attention. Some things actually age well; but not bad reporting,” said Albrecht.

Albrecht’s suspension comes months after private equity giant Apollo Global Management and associated funds agreed to make a $760 million investment in the Burbank-based company in exchange for a minority stake.

The company didn’t disclose the valuation, but people familiar with its finances last year said Legendary was valued at about $2 billion.

Albrecht was a hugely successful executive at HBO, and with such hits on “The Sopranos,” he ushered the network into its era of creative dominance in the television industry.

The Queens, NY native eventually resigned as chairman of HBO after he was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend. Police ended an altercation between Albrecht and the woman in front of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. At the time, he admitted to having a drinking problem.

The incident, with Emerson never filing a police report, was not reported until Albrecht’s 2007 arrest.

Albrecht became managing director of premium cable TV station Starz from 2010 to 2019. He joined Legendary Entertainment in late 2019.

Times contributor Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report. Chris Albrecht placed on leave from Legendary Entertainment

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