HBO: We won't ax 'Game of Thrones' too soon


Image Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

HBO’s top executives reassured nervous critics that Game of Thrones won’t be treated like Deadwood — a serialized favorite that was cancelled without an ending.

“We told [author George R.R. Martin] we’d go as long as he keeps writing,” said HBO co-president Richard Plepler.

“I hope it lasts for 20 years,” says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo of the show. “I promise you we won’t stop it before it’s ready to stop … There’s a great relationship fans have with the show and we appreciate that. We’ve never seen people get so excited about casting [decisions].”

One critic worried about the possibility of Thrones finishing in the middle of Martin’s saga. “Nor do we expect it to,” Plepler said.

But don’t start debating who’ll play Victarion just yet  — there’s some hedging to come.

“I don’t know where the show ends compared to the books,” Lombardo added. “We’re doing this without any predetermined number of seasons.”

The executives also addressed a big fan complaint — only doing 10 episodes per season.

“The challenge on a show like Thrones is if we could do 12, we would,” said Lombardo, who noted they didn’t want fans to have to wait more than a year between seasons. “To produce those shows in the time they have, there’s no way they could physically do more than 10 than for without diluting the quality of the execution.”
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Comments (80 total) Add your comment
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  • Josh

    Well, let’s hope GRRM finishes the series in the first place…

    • ks

      I know right

  • Mike

    “To produce those shows in the time they have…”. And who gave them such limited time, Mr. Big-shot HBO exec?

    • James Hibberd

      Thanks for reminding me… just added something about that, how they claimed they didn’t want to make fans wait more than a year…

      • sarah

        I also think they really mean budget-wise. If they’re strapped for special effects and whatnot, I imagine more episodes would significantly lessen the available budget. I didn’t consider that. Hmmm.

    • Delta1212

      I believe that would be Pope Gregory XIII.

      • wsugar

        That bum!

    • Kimmi

      … they have NOTHING to put on the DVDs, in terms of extra footage. Srsly. Then again, the DVD should be worth it to see Momoa doing a Haka during his audition…

      • SNIKT!

        DVDs? That’s SO last decade dude. Sure you don’t want the VHS edition with that as well?

        I’ll take the Blu Ray version thank you vbery much.

  • Michelle

    I’m being cautiously optimistic. RIP Rome

    • tracy bluth

      THIS. I miss Rome!!!!

    • Maria Theresa

      Where is Rome the movie like we were promised was going to be happening. And wtf did they ever cancel the best HBO series ever??

    • Lissa

      Awwwww… You made me sad just now. :( Rome was epic!

  • ViciousCircle

    Really. They want to throw the ‘quality’ argument. I don’t see how adding 2 more eps to a season is going to cause that much damage. What about the quality of storytelling? The sheer scope of these books calls for several more episodes per season than what they are alloting. Especially if they plan to maintain a book a season. A Storm of Swords would make 2 seasons on its own.The least they can do is afford it as many eps as their other series. But I am glad to hear that HBO plans to stick with it. Now let’s pray that Martin manages to finish the series.

    • NMO

      I think they mean they can’t afford it.

      • Scott123

        Agreed. I am sure they have the time, But I don’t think they have enough money. Some big scenes coming up.

    • daisy

      you know they really do not need more than 10 episodes in a season, but I do think if they do 10 per season they should split it up differently then one season per book

      • Mauve

        What an awesome way to explain this-now I know evryetnhig!

    • Jeannie

      I think the main issue is that if they filmed more than 10 episodes, it would delay the start of the next season, and fans would have to wait more than a year between seasons. Also, the cost would go up, there’s a large cast for this show and to add a couple more episodes to the season would be too expensive. It’s disappointing because the show really deserves more episodes, but I understand that the quality could be diminished by extending the season without an increased budget.

    • cekma

      David Benioff said if they make it to a Storm of Swords that it will be 2 seasons long.

    • Bobby

      10 Episodes per season is 10 hours or polished product a season. That’s like creating 5-6 movies **one year**. I can imagine that adding on another movie’s worth of story in a season could pose a burden.

  • negatory

    great news except Deadwood blows GoT off the map. that’s like saying The Beatles broke up but there’s no way in hell we’re letting REM break up.

    • Eric


    • James

      Deadwood was boring as hell, I couldnt even finish the 1st season. The opening scene of the Game of Thrones pilot was more exciting than an entire season of Deadwood.

      • negatory

        Deadwood’s up there with Shane and Lonesome Dove as one of the greatest westerns ever filmed. GoT is good but is still just a decent fantasy/creature show with HBO’s nudity/sex shoe-horned in to ensure big DVD sales from beer bellied couch commandos. you may find DW dull and that’s ok…but in terms of writing and acting, GoT is kindergarten next to it.

      • RL

        Try watching it on DVD in a marathon. I didn’t care for DW when it came out and wouldn’t watch it. Now I own the set. It’s fantastic.

    • Rob

      No, Deadwood failed for a reason. :)

    • mondo182

      Deadwood is great. So is Game of Thrones. Why make this a pissing contest?

      • wsugar

        Because it is fun.

    • chase

      Wait, you’re talking about Deadwood the TV show. Are you crazy that show blew chunks….

  • Mark

    Before the series started, I was skeptical they could fit the story into 10 episodes. But they did almost perfectly, it didn’t feel that rushed.

    I think 10 episodes is fine for Season 2, I just hope they up the budget dramatically for the Battle of the Blackwater. The world is watching, HBO. Don’t cheap out on us!

    • Sue

      I watched the TV show before reading the book. When I read the book, I was suprised at how good of a job they did at translating the book to tv. You rarely see 95% of the book in a tv show or movie but they left very little out and they changed very little. In fact, they put a few scenes in the tv show that were not in the book at all (mostly involving Theon Greyjoy) and one or two things from the second book (which I read immediately aftewards). I will say the second book will be harder to translate because there is more of a supernatural/magical element to it which I’m sure requires more money to produce. Ditto for the third book that I’m reading now … which is just longer and more complicated.

  • NMO

    It seems to me the problem they are going to be facing by the time they’re halfway through the second book is how they’re going to afford to keep doing the show. Every principal character is in a separate storyline with their own supporting cast and multiple locations needed. By the time you get to book five there must be, at a conservative estimate, two or three hundred main and secondary characters and hundreds of other minor ones. And more and more special effects are needed on top of that.

    • sarah

      Depends how well merchandising does. It certainly is a great series for it, unlike Rome, which was big budget but doesn’t have as much potential for selling extras.

      • Maria Theresa

        That is your opinion and it is not fact when it comes to Rome and its potential

      • Mark

        Rome was cancelled so his opinion on it’s merchandising prowess was correct

    • Sue

      I would guess that many of the secondary/minor characters will be excised or combined – especially the ones that are outlaws/bad guys.

  • Jim

    By book 4 and 5 the story becomes impossible to translate to TV because because there’re are so many characters and plots. The only way to continue the show would be to alter the story.

    • Liz Lemon

      I’m sure that will happen, but hopefully for the better not worst.

    • Olive

      It’s possible. They have to combined the books then split them up into 2 maybe 3 seasons.

    • charles

      Not really there are several POV characters that doesn’t matter really. They’re there just to give some background info, but in the “game of thrones” they are just pawns and noone care about pawns (even if the pawn is “king” or “prince”).

  • ilovedexter

    I don’t think they should do Game of Thrones for 20 years haha, I know he was just saying that but I think the one season per book system works really nice. I haven’t read the books but my brother has and he’s always telling me about them so I understand that there’s a lot of characters. I think they might cut a couple and raise the budget. Also 10 episodes per season is a good number; I read last season cost $60 million. I dont know that its like compared to other shows but i think that’s crazy expensive for 10 episodes and they still cut stuff out. Anyways, these are just a couple of thoughts haha.

    • stella

      not to mention, the timing in the books progresses extremely slowly. you’d have actresses like maisie williams going on 16 and still trying to capture a 12-year-old arya, or whatever.

      • Rob

        I’m pretty sure that won’t be a problem, as on the show they will age the characters more rapidly as George originally intended.

  • Tyrion

    Words are like winds.

    • Mark

      winds are like snows

  • Scott123

    Weasel Soup!

  • Peter Vee

    Break the later books into multiple seasons. That way there’s less danger of overtaking GRRM.

    • poop

      I think the whole quote about going on for 20 years kinda confirms that notion.

  • Gina Vera

    Yeah at least like Sex and the City the people are suppose to get older, wiser and saggier. The cast members could even be replaced. Just glad is an every thing . .True Blood and GoT for ever

  • WillFerrellStinks

    Sure , they say that now . Deadwood was supposedly canceled because of one PO’ed HBO exec . Let’s hope the ratings continue to increase and HBO zeal over this show continues . Carnivale was another show they left hanging in the wind !

    • Ms. Chanandler Bong


    • Olive

      Carnivale was only suppose to last two seasons like Rome.

      • Nathan

        No – Carnivale was mapped out for 6 seasons. Three ‘chapters’ lasting 2 seasons each. Was a great show while it lasted.

      • Maria Theresa

        Rome was supposed to be on longer not only two seasons. it got cancelled but it had more seasons planned

      • PA_Bill

        How can you think Carnivale was only supposed to last 2 seasons, like Rome?? Both of them stopped too abruptly to be considered closed. Fans of neither series got closure.
        Oh, Deadwood rocked!! Thank God Timothy Olyphant found Justified!!

  • Olive

    They better not cut out Victarion.

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