Chris Albrecht
CEO, Home Box Office
Surround yourself with people smarter than you and be comfortable with that. I went to a high school for gifted students and went from being one of the smartest kids in the class to being near the bottom of the pack. I got very comfortable with being in that situation and realizing how much I could learn from people who are as smart as or smarter than I am. Now that I'm running HBO, it's so important that the answers about how HBO continues its success come from the people sitting in the room with me. My job is to help guide them to the right answer.

I'm thinking of the first season of The Sopranos. In episode five, Tony Soprano goes to look at colleges with his daughter and finds the guy who was a mafia rat in years past, and Tony decides to kill him. I looked at the script and thought, "This is horrible. We're going to totally blow this show. The audience isn't ready for this. We haven't earned it." I called David [Chase, the show's creator and director] and really went full-bore at him as to why this was a bad idea. David said to me, "Listen, if the guy that Tony is doesn't kill that guy in that situation, then Tony's full of sh** and the whole show is full of sh**." I told him to go ahead with the script. It turned out to be the tipping point for the show. The juxtaposition of this guy going to look at schools with his daughter and then murdering someone blew people away. I was wrong, but I trusted someone who knew better.
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