Variety has named HBO their Showman of the Year and as a result have quite a few featured articles highlighting HBO’s success. One of which is a new interview with HBO co-president Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo. They touch on many topics, one of which is Game of Thrones. Here is what they had to say:
Are you concerned about “Game of Thrones,” considering that it’s a wholly new genre for you?
RP: I would just say this: While it is a different genre, the storytelling piece, meaning the themes that it takes up — power and strife and people vying for their piece of the crown, metaphorically — those are themes that have been all over the network for years. And David Benioff, who’s the creator, had a wonderful line at the very beginning of this project. He said, “You’ll quickly forget where you are, because the themes are universal.” Having read all the scripts, I think that’s absolutely true.
ML: At this point, we have not seen any cuts. All we have seen are dailies.
RP: And the pilot. It’s beautiful.
ML: So we’re excited and nervous as we would be with any new show. The fan base is a challenge because they love the books, and you really have to deliver a show that delivers on the expectations of that fan base. They follow every piece of casting news, but I think we’re going to do that.
RP: (Author) George R.R. Martin, who’s been on set and been a part of it, has been publicly very supportive of the care that the producers have taken in making sure that we deliver on that promise.
And sci-fi fans and fantasy who have been very satisfied with “True Blood” are probably willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
ML: You know the interesting thing about this show is I am not a sci-fi fan, and this show really transcends the genre. When we first read the pilot script, there is nothing that really gives you a full hint of the magic in the Martin books. It’s a bunch of compelling and well-crafted stories. There are such interesting and complex characters that we were excited by the drama, not by the genre. I hope people don’t look at this as a genre play and refrain from taking a look at it, because I think it is much more than that.
RP: I think it’ll satisfy the passion of its natural fan base, but also intrigue and satisfy those people who might not typically be connected to the sci-fi genre. That would be fantastic for us, and I think that’s really likely.
When will the show premiere?
RP: Second quarter.
Winter Is Coming: Good to see that they are sticking to the Spring 2011 premiere. If I had to guess a date, I would look at March 27th. The week after Big Love‘s finale and just
prior to the end days from the start of the second quarter.
It’s also great to see the execs continue to talk up the scripts and the books. HBO gets it. It is all about the story. The complex characters and their struggle for power. The game of thrones. We can have all the “gates” we want, but at the end of the day, this series will live and die on its ability to suck people into the world via its story and characters. We know the books can do that. Now we have to see if Benioff and Weiss can translate that to the screen. I believe that they can.