HBO President talks Game of Thrones
By Winter Is Coming on in Rumors.

Over at the NeoGAF forums, a poster claims to have spoken with HBO’s President of Programming. They discussed the Game of Thrones pilot and the HBO exec expressed a great deal of enthusiasm about the project. Here is what the poster had to say:

I was at a function tonight and got a chance to talk to the President of HBO Programming for a bit. I expressed my delight at them ordering a pilot, and we chatted for a bit.

He confirmed the Ireland filming location for later this year, and he said that the script Benioff wrote is absolutely amazing. He also said that it’s important for them to really focus on the characters and make sure their performance comes out because he said he doesn’t look at A Game of Thrones as a special effects event but rather as a really intense character story. He mentioned that after the script was passed around, everyone at the office went and picked up the books and they’re all hooked, so that bodes well. He said it’s a super expensive pilot, and it’s risky in the sense that if it doesn’t get made in the right way, it won’t be as good as potential allows it to be.

Anyway, just an update for you.

Winter Is Coming: Assuming this is true, it is excellent news. Not only are they committed to doing this project, but they are committed to doing it right. Also I just love the part about everyone at HBO now being hooked on the books due to reading the script. That bodes well for how committed they may be to making not just one season, but the entire series.


53 Comments

  1. CerpinTaxt
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Yay!! This is really graet news (assuming that it’s true).

    Hopefully news of casting will surface soon.

    Ireland is a great shooting location.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    yes, addict them as we have been addicted, they will not be able to resist the whiles of Martins world!

    BUAHAHAHAHAHA!

  3. Marko
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    This wonderful piece of news made my already great day :)

  4. Bubba
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Awesome. Now we just need some casting info.

    *Assuming this is true*

  5. coltaine777
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I’m highly suspicious of this post….I obviously hope
    It’s true but where are the details ?…what ‘function’ did he attend ?…what was the name of the Hbo exec ?…the truth is often in the details.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Once you read a bit… you have no chance!

    AGOT is amazing!

  7. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Honestly, this sounds like a load of crap. No doubt they ARE excited, but this particular account sounds too general, too fake.

  8. Børre
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    And now they’re all reading the books? Too perfect.. And ofcourse no new details about the project. This sounds soo made up.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Yeah…I so want to believe this, that the Prez of HBO is out there enthusiastically chatting AGoT to anyone who shows interest, but…it sounds a bit too precious. On the other hand, if someone was going to make up a story, you’d think they’d actually be able to make up a reason they were there as well…but now I’m reading waaaaay into it. How stupid is too stupid?

    But…*hopes*

  10. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I want to believe this as well and I think it’s perfectly possible that this rumour is mostly true. The claim that everebody are now hooked sounds somewhat exaggerated, but on the other hand, we know it’s very easy to get so :)

    The part where was said HBO wants to concentrate on characters instead of special effects warmed tremendously my heart. Yay, that’s the way!

  11. james
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Too bad they will run out of source material after season 4…Martin prolly won’t finish the books till 2020

  12. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m very glad to hear this wonderful news. People who have read the books need spread the word. So when and if the show comes out. It will havw a bigger fan base.

  13. Yoda
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  14. Davor
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    That is wonderfull news!! If you remember ROME (http://www.hbo.com/rome/) was made by HBO, and in my opinion they did a great job. Show has allmost no special effects and is still vissualy very impressive, not to say that plot is tied to the charachters telling it, which is all SOIAF is about.
    *Fingers crossed*

  15. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I hope it’s true… I hope it soooo much!
    Awesome news.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    for all you talking about the president of HBO… what was said is that he talked to “HBO’s President of PROGRAMMING”. I would have thought that would be the same person… but maybe not… I’m just saying…

  17. Enchante
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    woot!

  18. 8thchild
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    oh how i wish this was is true. God, the series and the new book must both happen. I feel like a jukie who’s been going cold turkey for three years but still hasn’t shaken the need!

  19. Adam Whitehead
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to find the name, but I believe that the HBO head of programming is an ex-BBC staffer who was involved in the production of ROME and is indeed of the male persusaion.

  20. WinterIsComing
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Adam: Some quick googling revealed two names, Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler.

    “After Mr. Albrecht’s exit, following an altercation with his girlfriend after a boxing match in Las Vegas, Bill Nelson was named CEO, Richard Plepler was promoted to co-president of HBO responsible for programming and Michael Lombardo was named president of the programming group and West Coast operations.”

    Source: http://www.tvweek.com/news/2008/04/naegle_named_president_of_hbo.php

    I didn’t see anything about either of them originally working for the BBC though. Another article highlights their backgrounds.

    “Lombardo, a 21-year veteran of HBO, and Plepler, who has been with the network since 1992 were named to their current positions in June 2007. Los Angeles-based Lombardo oversees HBO’s programming group and all of its west coast operations. New York City-based Plepler oversees the network’s original programming and corporate communications groups.”

    Source: http://www.jackmyers.com/commentary/lunch-at-michaels/11319976.html

  21. nomad310
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    It would be lovely if this were true, but after seeing how badly HBO handled both Rome and Deadwood, I don’t have much confidence in them. I would dearly love to be wrong in that view.

  22. Galen
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    This is better than the president panning it, but people are always nice at functions. They’ll also be more concerned with the bottom line than they will with whether they like it or not.

  23. Brude
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    It is hopefully real, but of course this is just an internet rumor so we all just have to hope it’s true.

    It rings as possibly true enough to me in terms of how it happened. I once had about a 20 minute conversation with the former head of HBO and I was just an assistant to a sorta-kinda-well-known literary manager at the time. This was back in 1997 at the premier to the HBO movie about Don King (great movie, btw).

    Anyway, a lot of people get invited to these things and a lot of people bring random friends, dates, etc. to them too. All sorts of people can get in if you happen to know the right person or work for the right person and just because someone is that much of a muckity-muck in the business doesn’t mean they won’t talk to someone. Hell, at that premier I stood at a urinal next to Ving Rhames and sat a few tables away from Charlize Theron at the dinner after (she’s even hotter in person). I wasn’t anybody, or special or anything, but my boss was on their invite list and was nice enough to take me to that event.

    I’m just saying it doesn’t ring false to me that someone could have met a bigwig at an event like this and got some cool info out of him. People shmooze at these things, stuff gets said and overheard. It happens.

  24. Aaron
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Later in the thread, the same poster says that (Lombardo, I would guess) told him who they had cast for Tyrion. Given the secrecy we've seen so far as to casting, it seems unlikely that anyone with authority would casually offer this sort of info.

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=138403&page=15

  25. coltaine777
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    This person was told who was cast as Tyrion ?…come on people….he doesn’t reveal who it is !….why not ?…..because he or she is a ‘phony’ …somebody is just sitting back and laughing at us all…we want to believe so bad.

  26. coltaine777
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    @Winteriscoming…not sure if you have already reported this but the website ” A Dribbling of Ink” has the ‘A Dance with Dragons ‘ cover or jacket ‘ blurb’…it’s a cool if very short read. It was apparently released last month…check it out…the title is ….’An aside. A Dance With Dragons official cover blurb’

  27. coltaine777
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    LOL … Sorry Winter …it was 08 not this yr…I’m easily excited…oooops

  28. Anonymous
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I thought Rome ended well, i felt it had closure. I loved Deadwood, well the first two season. The third season sucked elephant ass. Nothing happend the whole season and I thought the last episode would be a great culmination and nothing happened untill the last 10 minuets of it. I can see why Deadwood got canceled. They had 13 episodes to wow us like they did in the first two seasons and well they didn’t do shit!
    _-J-

  29. Chris T*
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Wha..? J, the last season of Deadwood was fantastic!

    Deadwood also has to have some of the best and funniest dialogue of any drama I’ve seen, even though it took my recent second viewing for me to really appreciate it.

    I am pretty disappointed that there wasn’t another season because I loved the characters so much. And I’m still holding a torch for it to return somehow someday, however unrealistic that hope might be.

    On the other hand, there were a lot of things in that last third season that foreshadowed closure [**SPOILERS**]:

    Alma selling out and moving on, Joanie and Jane finding some solace, the arrival of the robber baron and the eventual demise of Deadwood in a great fire as foreshadowed by the arrival of Tom Nuttal’s water pump.

  30. stratomunchkin
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Seriously people, stop getting your pants in a twist here. Even assuming this all happened and all was true, what the hell did you expect him to say?

    “Yeah, we’ll be filimg in Ireland, but honestly, the setting and series don’t interest me at all and will most likely fail. This is just another business decision for us, and Benioff’s been given an awful lot of money for it, so for his sake he better makes something decent out of it that at least will bring in its own costs.”

    He’s promoting a product. That’s part of his job. He’d be bad at his job if he did not promote it. That does not mean it’ll be good. It does not mean he’s enthusiastic about it. But it means he’ll claim so to any kind of audience, even if the actual product did not interest him and/or was shite.

    Take a more realistic approach to these kind of exec statements. Those people are doing there jobs, that#s all.

  31. Lordnedshead
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Of course a studio exec will want to put his project’s best foot forward Strat. Promotion is what execs are paid for. What is encouraging however is not that he is being positive (if this is in fact real), but that he seems to be clued in to what makes the series so great. It would be all too easy to focus on fighting and flash in a fantasy series of this nature. If the guy can be believed, it seems as though he gets the fact that AGoT is about the characters and their interactions and NOT about the dragons, the Others and the maegi. Its also great that the general populace of the studio seems to be catching on to the books. It makes it much more likely that the people with the power to sculpt the series will want to keep it true to the story. I’d much rather have fanboys with talent in charge of the effort than suits who have skimmed the material and concentrate on focus groups and the bottom line.

  32. Adam Whitehead
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Coltaine, that was a ‘placeholder blurb’ which may or may not become the official blurb you see on the book itself depending on what happens in the book when it’s finished. The AFFC hardcover blurb actually had a massive continuity error in it (it called Sansa the king’s widow instead of Margaery) that they had to fix for the paperback release, so I think this time around they’re going to be more careful with it.

  33. coltaine777
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    @Adam Whitehead…thankyou for the details.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    *Spoilers*
    If they can just get to the end of Storm of Swords I’ll be happy. Up up up…and than Catelyn Starks face!!! That will be enough for me :)Open ended, but with a little closure…
    -Jon

  35. SubTech Zero
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I agree. I’ve always felt Storm of Swords would be a satisfying conclusion to this series.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Exactly! Some of the best literature and cinema ends openended. Y: The Last Man, Watchmen, The Matrix (I don’t even recognize the sequels as existing), etc etc…Plus I feel that George is gonna leave the seris openended anyways…even if it ends on his terms. If it ends at SoS that would be 3 seasons I’m guessing. That’s not too unreasonable at all. As long as the writing and acting is good and, yes, the special effects(admit it if their bad the whole thing is ruined). I would be willing to subscribe to HBO just watch Thrones. Hell, I’d sign a contract to subcribe to 3 years of HBO if just 1 season goes through.

  37. wabawanga
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Good point about the special effects Anon. Remember those godawful CG bears in the first season of lost? The wolves in The Day After Tomorrow? I think I would cry if the direwolves end up being the same kind of awkward, glowing, incredibly un-lifelike creatures you tend to get with CG. I hope they do it like LOTR, use CG for what you need, and do the rest in miniatures & animatronics. /derail

  38. Anonymous
    Posted May 17, 2009 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    I’m excited about this, but at the same time I’m worried. I just started reading the series a few days ago, and about 3/4 of the way done with AGoT and i love this series. I worried because of what Sam Raimi did to SoT.

  39. David C
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    OH WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!! I have not felt this way in so so so so long, the shock of reading this news tonight has left me literally shocked temporally, a first got into a Game Of Thrones back in 2002, when my brother passed away, my uncle gave me some books (i guess to get my mind off things) among theses books was ISOFAI, i opened it, read the first chapter and i was blown away! This was guttural, intense and dramatic, i was so in awe of it that i even remember ringing up a friend of mine and reading the chapter concerning Bran’s fall in its entirity.

    I was always into film making and back then career choices were forming in my head, and i always thought of how much id love to one day bring and direct AGOT, not for film, but i had distinct visions of how it would work as a TV series, i saw how the intense character driven pieces would work.

    I live in Ireland and now i find that they are planning to shoot it here, i have contacts in the Irish Film Board, i am going to find out as much about this as possible and report back to you guys. I am now working in the Irish film and television industry and i need to work on this project, i have so much passion for it its unreal.

    DC

  40. Anonymous
    Posted June 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    this is great. a miracle really…

  41. sue
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I have just finished the first book, I only started reading it because my son had a casting and then a recall for a part, still waiting to hear any new's, probably won't hear until end of June, but I am hooked, just about to order second book, I have read it all today, nothing for tea but I finished the book!!!

  42. Silverstar
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    You're one of us now …

  43. tawnywitch
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    is this a good thing?

  44. tawnywitch
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    sorry I should have said, I was Sue, now reborn as Tawnywitch.

  45. Silverstar
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    It's a good thing, apart from the fact you now get to join us in the agonising wait for A Dance with Dragons.

  46. tawnywitch
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    will read the next book's slowly and feed my family in between, waiting to hear about the part for my son is kindof taking my mind off most thing's at the moment,

  47. WinterIsComing
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    tawny/sue: Very cool! It is a great series, and I bet reading the book while imagining your son playing the part of Bran must have been pretty exciting.

  48. tawnywitch
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    it is soo exciting, he is really laid back about it,he liked the bit where Bran climbed out of the castle to get out of lesson's, it;s the sort of thing he would do, school get's in the way of acting in his opinion, he loves fencing and riding and a few week's in Ireland doing all this and getting paid for it is his idea of heaven.He loves fantasy too and is usually in a different world to the rest of us, finger's crossed.

  49. Anonymous
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The felt agony while waiting for Dance has mellowed to a dull throb over the years.

  50. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    this is the greatest series of books ever written in my opinion and so if the show can be even half as good then i will be thrilled.

    Yes to ireland, and lets hope that some casting news will be released.Dinklage is the perfect role for the smart mouth of Tyrion.

    God i hope this comes out soon!!!!!!!

  51. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    When is Dance of Dragons coming out?

  52. Whiskeyjack
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    OMG!!! I hope this is all I imagined it would be. Massive fan of the books and have been in agony waitin for a dance of dragons.Also I,m Irish and alway's pictured the Irish countryside when I was reading the books,it is perfect.My biggest fear is that it wont get the ratings it deserves and HBO wont see it through to the end

  53. Anonymous
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    HBO are fools. Should have gone with Erickson's series. Now he has imagination and depth. Martin is boring compared to Erickson. COME ON. What's your choice. Whiskey Jack or Ned. Martin takes 7 damn years for a book. Don't get me wrong I love Game of Thrones, but I hope someone in his family is a writer and has his notes. Because the old timer is not going to make it to the final book. Malazan's HBO the Malazan's


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