Hoping it might have another True Blood-sized hit on its hands, HBO has renewed the George R.R. Martin fantasy series Game of Thrones for a second season two days after the series premiered to an audience of 2.2 million viewers. And with two additional viewings, the new series scored a total of 4.2 million viewers.
"We are delighted by the way David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have brought George R.R. Martin's amazing book series to the screen, and thrilled by the support of the media and our viewers," HBO Programming president Michael Lombardo said in a press release. "This is the continuation of an exciting creative partnership."
While HBO's Boardwalk Empire premiered last fall to 4.8 million viewers, Game of Thrones has been getting great reviews, and it wasn't all that long ago (okay, it was three years) that True Blood premiered with 1.44 million viewers before becoming a monster hit for them. Add into the mix that HBO is already earning more than $2.5 million per episode overseas, and you can almost understand why the pay cable channel forked out $50 million to create this series and why they are ready to give it a very early second-season pickup.
Here's the HBO press release that was released today:
HBO RENEWS "GAME OF THRONES" FOR SECOND SEASON
LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2011 - Following strong critical and viewer response to the series' April 17 debut, HBO has renewed GAME OF THRONES for a second season, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.
"We are delighted by the way David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have brought George R.R. Martin's amazing book series to the screen, and thrilled by the support of the media and our viewers," said Lombardo. "This is the continuation of an exciting creative partnership."
Based on the bestselling fantasy book series "A Song of Ice and Fire," by George R.R. Martin, GAME OF THRONES follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power in a land where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime.
Among the early critical raves, TV Guide has called the show "a crowning triumph" and "brilliant," while the Los Angeles Times termed GAME OF THRONES "a great and thundering series," as well as "wild and bewitching." The Hollywood Reporter praised the "excellent storytelling, superb acting and stunning visual effects," and the New York Post observed that the "art directing, acting and incredible sets are as breathtaking as the massive scope of the series."
The gross audience for the premiere night of GAME OF THRONES on the main HBO channel was 4.2 million viewers.
The season one cast includes (in alphabetical order): Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Sean Bean, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, Rory McCann, Jason Momoa, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams.
Season one credits: GAME OF THRONES is executive produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; co-executive producers, Carolyn Strauss, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, Ralph Vicinanza and George R.R. Martin; producers, Mark Huffam and Frank Doelger; directors of photography, Marco Pontecorvo, Alik Sakharov and Matt Jensen; production designer, Gemma Jackson; costume designer, Michele Clapton.