The Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones was watched by seven million people. That’s compared to the four million suckers who tuned into True Blood‘s series finale, or the 710,000 who saw Shosh freaking out over Josh Charles in the most recent episode of Girls. Point is, Game of Thrones is a massive, massive hit, and HBO wants it to stick around for longer than seven seasons, which is showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss’ stated preference.
Yeah, about that.
“This is the hard part of what we do,” sighs HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “We started this journey with David and Dan. It’s their vision. Would I love the show to go 10 years as both a fan and a network executive? Absolutely.”
So if the producers prefer seven seasons and HBO prefers more, what happens? A conversation…Like amicable spouses who avoid a sensitive area of disagreement, this issue is something HBO and the showrunners haven’t discussed thus far…“We’ll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues,” Lombardo says. “If they weren’t comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that’s the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I’m not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they’ve finished with the story.” (Via)
This isn’t exactly a surprise. Game of Thrones is the reason HBO is about to earn enough money to fill the Iron Bank of Braavos from HBO Now, not to mention all the merchandising and exposure from stunts like the Game of Thrones Exhibition at South by Southwest. Plus, without Game of Thrones, what is their signature show? True Detective was a sensation, but ratings were half of what Thrones pulls in. The Leftovers is too miserable, Veep and Silicon Valley too inaccessible for the average Bazinga Bang Theory fan.
HBO needs more Game of Thrones, but they don’t want a movie.
HBO isn’t keen on a Thrones film even if it’s a potential box office blockbuster, however, because the format switch could be construed as snubbing their loyal subscribers. (The showrunners won’t comment on the matter.) “Certainly there have been conversations where it’s been said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do that?’” Lombardo said. “But when you start a series with our subscribers, the promise is that for your HBO fee that we’re going to take you to the end of this. I feel that on some level [a movie would be] changing the rules: Now you have to pay $16 to see how your show ends.” (Via)
If it meant watching MOTHERF*CKING DRAGONS ON THE BIG SCREEN, I’d be willing to pay $50, which is how much movie tickets are going to cost by the time the show ends after 19 seasons.