HBO Exec Talks Writers Strike, Game of Thrones’ TV Future

HBO Exec Talks Writers Strike, Game of Thrones’ TV Future

After Game of Thrones wrapped in 2019, it wasn’t really a question about if HBO was considering the fantasy series for spinoff potential. Out of the many candidates there were at the time, the first salvo of this enterprise was last year’s House of the Dragon, but it won’t be the last. Ahead and after that show’s premiere, HBO said spinoffs were in the works focused on Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow and The Hedge Knight, which is based on the Dunk & Egg prequel novellas.

In a recent interview with Deadline, HBO’s head of drama Francesca Orsi talked about those two spinoffs, along with House of the Dragon and the Writers Strike at large. While she acknowledged the current “lack of collaboration” as Hollywood writers picket for better wages, she expressed hope that things will reach a conclusion soon. Various HBO shows have stopped production, and she was candid in saying the strike may affect shows for the 2024-2025 season — like say, The Last of Us’ second season. “At this point, those shows that I’m looking to air wouldn’t necessarily be ready if this strike last six to nine months. […] But I think we’ll cross that road once we come to it.”

Eventually, Orsi admitted the network will “have to assess what is the end of the ‘24 schedule, what are the shows that are going to be delivered for 2025.” But the focus is just on the 2023-2024 slate, which includes House of the Dragon’s second season, the only known HBO show working through the strike. Even with the showrunner Ryan Condal only doing duties as a non-writing producer, she said the network is “really confident” about the sophomore season. “If there is anything that needs to be rewritten or reshot, we’ll handle that after the strike,” she said. “We’ll put the resources behind revising what we need to do and reshooting what we need to do if we’ve made any mistakes along the way.”

Orsi added that House’s overall future is still being actively discussed. Condal and author George R.R. Martin have, according to her, have been talking about the show’s overall lifespan. The original series lasted for eight, and previous reports have indicated the two men are aiming for half that. She confirmed those talks will continue after the strike, but in her eyes, House won’t go on for “any less than four. But could be more. We’ll see.”

And as for those aforementioned spinoffs, the only one with a firm (potentially three-season) future is Hedge Knight, which stopped production during the strike. Others, Orsi called “so nascent…until we realise them as real contenders for production greenlight.” This thought even extends to that Jon Snow series: it’s still in the earliest of stages, and before the strike, HBO was working with writers to shape it up for greenlight. “But at this point, no, no determination on whether it can go all the way.”

House of the Dragon season 2 is intended to premiere on Max sometime in 2024. You can read Orsi’s full interview with Deadline here, which also touches on the future of Succession, The Last of Us, and other parts of HBO’s business.

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