At the first panel of this summer's Television Critics Association press tour, HBO had plenty to talk about. After its acquisition as part of WarnerMedia by AT&T, the network has talked about beefing up its programming to compete with the sheer amount of content being pushed by streaming services. So of course HBO’s president of programming, Casey Bloys, had plenty to say about Game of Thrones, Westworld, and a few other upcoming shows.
First, Bloys explained that the coming of the finale to Game of Thrones proper has been narrowed down to a six-month period.
The last season of the show will start airing during the first half of 2019 — which is the same time period during which the pilot for the Jane Golden-penned prequel series will be shot. As soon as they find a director, anyways. As far as the other four potential GoT spin-offs? They’re dead or stagnated, according to Bloys. Right now it’s all on Golden’s project. That’s the goal of the Game of Thrones team now, though it’s only one piece in the puzzle of HBO’s greater programming plan.
Part of that is Westworld, a show that had mixed reactions during its sophomore season. But those reactions are exactly what HBO likes to see, according to Bloys. Polarization only means more people will be talking about the show.
“For a show to arouse that kind of feeling, that’s what we want,” Bloys said. "It's not for casual viewers — it requires your attention. It's a unique show." As part of the strategy to beef up content, HBO will need more shows that hook audiences and keep conversations going.
And they’ll also need shows for more audiences to watch, like Esme and Roy.
That show is the first animated series from the makers of Sesame Street in over a decade, and is coming out on Aug. 18. Kid-oriented monsters AND more Game of Thrones? HBO might be unstoppable.