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Friday, July 31, 2015

MOVIE: HBO chief: 'Thrones' could go 8 seasons

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Eight could be the magic number of seasons for HBO's fantasy-drama hit, Game of Thrones, according to programming president Michael Lombardo. Lombardo, speaking Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, said he's "open" regarding the ultimate length of the show's run, which finished Season 5 this spring. He dismissed speculation that the duration would be fixed at seven seasons. "Seven seasons and out has never been the conversation. The question is how much beyond the seventh season we're going to do," he said. Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are "feeling probably like two more years after (Season) 6. I think that's what we're looking at right now." Discussing the potential for a Thrones
prequel, Lombardo said there would be "enormous storytelling to be mined" and that he is open to anything Benioff and Weiss want to do. However, "at this point, all the focus is on figuring out the next few years of the show," which returns for Season 6 in 2016. Lombardo acknowledged complaints about the level of violence, including sexual violence, in Thrones. "I certainly have seen some articles, particularly with respect to Sansa," the elder Stark sister, he said, adding that violence has been part of the show since young Bran Stark was pushed from a high window ledge in the series premiere. "The show has had violence as one of many threads from the first episode. … No two showrunners are more careful about not overstepping what they think the line is." And, regarding the ongoing question of whether Jon Snow is really dead, Lombardo said: "Dead is dead. He is dead. ... Yes, everything I've seen, heard and read, Jon Snow is indeed dead." Lombardo discussed other shows, too. • He said he expects Larry David will be back for another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He just doesn't know when that will be. "I don't think it's out of his system. I think he'll come back to it. I think he has something to say. I certainly see this as a continuing dialogue, a long one, but a continuing one," he said. HBO announced the Mick Jagger-Martin Scorsese-produced rock-and-roll drama series will be called Vinyl.
The series, set in 1972 and starring Bobby Cannavale as a music executive, focuses on the sex-and-drug-fueled music business as punk and disco are rising. The movie won't be focusing on Jagger's Rolling Stones, who were worldwide stars at that point, but Jagger's son, James, will play a musician in the series. At the panel, HBO showed clips from Vinyl and another new series, Westworld. Both will premiere in 2016. •When asked about second-season criticism of True Detective, Lombardo strongly backed the anthology show's sophomore outing, which has two episodes remaining, and writer Nic Pizzolatto.
"I think Nic is one of the best writers working in television and motion pictures today. I think (how) the show ends is as satisfying as any show I've seen," he said, referring to the season's remaining episodes. He added that he has been surprised by viewing levels. "I didn't believe this season – or last season – was intended for as big an audience as we're getting."
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