HBO Speculation

Patience is a virtue

You have already heard me comment on the possibility that HBO may be prepared to announce that they have ordered a full first season of Game of Thrones. Certainly there is quite a bit of speculation involved, so we will have to wait for official word before getting too excited.

Anyway, let’s assume they don’t announce a pickup soon and follow the traditional route of viewing the pilot before making a final decision. How long will it be before that decision is made? A reader forwarded me this article about the pilot of Tremé. A good read and it also holds some clues as to when we can expect HBO to make a decision on the Game of Thrones pilot. Specifically this portion:

The pilot and scripts are due by the end of May, and a decision should follow in mid-June. “They don’t wait as long as some others,” says Tremé associate producer Laura Schweigman about HBO.

So essentially we are looking at a possible 2-3 week wait after the pilot is completed and presented to HBO. We know they are planning on filming in October, how long of a shoot it is scheduled to be is unknown however. Tremé shot in 17 days, Boardwalk Empire‘s filming is scheduled to last 50 days. I would guess that Thrones would be somewhere in the vicinity of 3-4 weeks. Assuming that they start filming in Oct, wrap in Nov, give them two months of post-production and we are looking at a final decision by HBO in Jan/Feb 2010.


  • It may not be that long. I could see a January greenlight and an August/September premiere date. HBO doesn’t have commercials so sweeps isn’t an issue for them since they don’t market to advertisers in the same way, if at all.

  • I’m expecting the show to premier during the Fall 2010 line up. If the show is ordered during the beginning of ’10 there is plenty of time to shoot the episodes by Fall.

  • And again, this is all assuming HBO waits until seeing the finished Pilot before picking it up. A pick up at ANY point before the pilot is finished would drastically change how early we could be seeing it on our televisions.

  • Ugh! I’m not as “Industry Savy” as some of the other folks who post here, but 2011 seems like an eternity. I hope its a fall 2010 date (or earlier). Wishful thinking I guess. But Spring 2011 just seems like forever.

  • I think a 2010 airdate is pretty optimistic. On previous occasions HBO shows haven’t aired until 6 months or more after the last frame of footage on a particular season was shot. If AGoT shoots in the spring/summer of 2010, I think New Year 2011 is more likely air date.

    But if they can get it on screen earlier than that, awesome :-)

  • has HBO ever ordered a full series without seing a pilot first? Would be interesting to know, and if yes, what it was.

  • Seeing as how the first book is set at the end of summer, I would think/hope the shooting might be done in early spring – summer 2010 with premiere in Fall. Might be a little optimistic though.

  • Anyone know what the chances might be that the pilot will get leaked soon after it’s done, whether the series gets picked up or not? Do they usually end up on the internet before the first series is ready?

  • I also hope it’s much earlier…Something knowone has mentioned yet are the Stark children. The longer they wait, the older the child actors get. Winter….(everyone) what do you think? Arya,Bran,Sansa are key players….does this affect the time table…..I don’t know the business that well…just wondering

  • well, at least George will have time to finish his series by then…. oh wait! sorry, almost forgot who I was talking about for a minute there

  • HBO has commissioned shows outright before, like BAND OF BROTHERS and its semi-sequel, THE PACIFIC, but those were one-shot mini-series. I think they’ve gone down the pilot route on most of their other projects. There’s a question mark over ROME, as the BBC and HBO put up the money for the whole first season ahead of time, but the first episode, ‘The Stolen Eagle’, is constantly called a ‘pilot’ even though it doesn’t appear to have been filmed separately to the other eleven episodes.

    Regards he pilot leaking, unlikely. Most pilots ‘leak’ when preview screeners are sent out and someone puts it up on the Internet, or when the episode airs early in one territory, or at a press screening. Internal HBO pilots simply don’t have much scope for leaking as no-one outside the company sees them. Someone inside HBO would literally have to nick a copy of the pilot and upload it onto the net, and the chances of that happening are fairly low. HBO have got pretty good security.

    As an internal pilot, it’ll be unlikely to have finished special effects, and as is mentioned in the Treme article, there usually isn’t a finished sound mix or music either. I’d much rather my first experience of Westeros on screen was the finished, professionally-done product rather than something only half-done with animatics and temp music tracks.

  • As I mentioned in a prior thread, greenlighting Band of Brothers is not the same situation as this show. Band of Brothers was produced by Spielberg and Tom Hanks and had the same production crew as Saving Private Ryan. With the great script it had in place, there was basically no way they wouldn’t green-light that. AGOT is a radical departure in some ways for them and where it isn’t (in that it’s similar to Rome) they are taking a chance because Rome didn’t do nearly as well as they had hoped. AGOT will have to do beter to last the full 7 seasons.

    I think they will see how the production is going with the pilot and it will be picked up, or not, as that is coming together.

  • Lets face it. It is all but impossible for them to produce a full 7 seasons.

    I think this is going to be a very visually unique and evocative series as is evidenced by the stages they have procured in Belfast. That takes time. We waited almost three years inbetween seasons of Rome. Even if they try to pick up the pace of production (Lets say 18 months per season) you’re looking at a show that would run over 10 years! Not even The Sopranos went that long for that many seasons.

    Also remember that they bought the rights to Game of Thrones only.

    I suspect that the actors cast in the pilot are going to be the characters we will mainly follow through a potential series. Catelyn probably being the biggest. So you can guess where I think the series will end, if it would be so lucky to go on that long.

    HBO also seems to like series that have open endings, where not everything, and in certain cases nothing, is ever resolved.

    I think we will get 1 season for sure. But this is going to have to catch on really well for it to go beyond that.

  • I know it won’t make a full six or seven seasons, but all I really want or need is three. Just give me three and I’m beyond happy. :)

  • What about if they split book 3 into two seasons? I think of all the published books, it’s the one that could most easily be divided in two, giving us an additional year of ASOIAF. Other than that, I’ll agree that it looks unlikely that we’ll get the whole thing. If we’re lucky and got to season 5/6 GRRM might have finished book 6. But book 7 would be unlikely to be finished on a schedule useful to HBO

  • AFFC & ADWD could be made into one serious as well, since its suppose to be all one book anyways.

  • Off Topic, sorry. Anyone heard of Jordan Prentice? He looks like Dinklage, but is younger. Saw him on HBO the other day and thought he might just be the one.

  • jordan prentice? wasnt he the racist midget in “In Bruges”? I think his portrayal of the whoring, foul-mouthed aspiring actor in than film could certainly translate to the role of Tyrion. And would probably be easier on HBO’s coffer than a big name like Dinklage. I only wonder if Prentice, being American could pull off a believable British accent or Dinklage for that matter?

  • I’m sure Prentice was considered for the role (or still is, if the rumors about Dinklage being cast aren’t true). There aren’t too many little person actors out there to choose from and his role in In Bruges was pretty visible and in a movie that won Colin Farrel a Golden Globe and which got an Academy Award nomination for the script.

    Still, Dinklage probably isn’t THAT expensive an actor. Probably about as much as any well respected, popular character actor (which can be a very nice living but won’t break HBO’s bank). I’m sure Dinklage was HBO’s first choice from the beginning, and for him the possibility of doing that role, and for up to 7 years (assuming he isn’t killed before book 7), would be hard to pass up.

  • “AGOT is a radical departure in some ways for them and where it isn’t (in that it’s similar to Rome) they are taking a chance because Rome didn’t do nearly as well as they had hoped. AGOT will have to do beter to last the full 7 seasons.”

    ROME was cancelled because HBO didn’t think Season 2 was going to do as well as Season 1 because it wouldn’t have the lead-in from THE SOPRANOS. With the BBC saying they wouldn’t co-fund a third season, HBO decided to pull the plug. It was a huge mistake (I think one HBO exec called it the biggest mistake they’ve ever made) as Season 2 did the same business as S1 even without the lead-in. That’s why HBO are developing the film version.

    In addition, HBO’s nervousness over the project was mainly due to its staggering costs, a requirement of filming in Italy. AGoT’s budget won’t be anywhere near as high (as far as we know) which should be a factor in any decisions made.

  • HBO is under new management and they’ve committed to not making the same mistakes. The old HBO really clung to its two war horses, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Those shows are long gone. But if you have HBO you know that theyre developing a whole lot of shows and airing them right now. They make mistakes with shows like Little Britain USA but then hit it dead on (despite criticism) with True Blood.

    I think the new HBO people are committed to keeping these shows on air so long as the quality is high and there are a decent number of people watching them. They also seem to shortening the time inbetween seasons as well. The Carnivales, Deadwoods and Romes are a thing of the past… It seems anyways.