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HBO Executive Session: No Plan If Martin Doesn’t Finish ‘Game of Thrones’ Book in Time #TCA14 - Broadcasting & Cable

HBO Executive Session: No Plan If Martin Doesn’t Finish ‘Game of Thrones’ Book in Time #TCA14

Lombardo on Emmy noms: Hard for Academy rules to fit 'every possible permutation'
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HBO executives said they do not have a contingency plan for Game of Thrones if author George R.R. Martin does not finish the next book in the series on which the show is based in time to keep up with the TV show’s production schedule.

“Obviously, George is an integral part of the creative team on this. At least with respect to next season every step, every move is being choreographed very closely with him,” said Michael Lombardo, president of programming for HBO, during the network’s TCA summer press tour executive session Thursday. “I think, certainly after next year, we will have to figure it out with George. The book’s not finished at this point. But we’re in conversations with him. We’re not concerned about it.”

Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of the premium cabler, fielded a question about whether HBO is involved with Martin about talks to end Game of Thrones with a feature film, as Martin has reportedly said he would like to do.

“He is 100 percent focused on his books and the series,” Plepler said, “and has only held out the movie conversation as something way down the road.”

Lombardo added, “There’s no conversations about a movie.”

With HBO garnering 99 Primetime Emmy Award nominations Thursday — more than any other network, Lombardo also addressed the conversation around Emmy categories. HBO entered anthology series True Detective in the drama-series categories, while other anthologies such as FX’s American Horror Story and Fargo are entered in the miniseries categories.

“The truth is, in terms of the Emmys, I think it’s hard for [the Television Academy] in an evolving, organic landscape to have rules that fit every possible permutation,” Lombardo said. He added, “For me I think it’s all about intention.”

Lombardo and Plepler also downplayed expectations about star power in the cast of True Detective’s next season, noting that star Matthew McConaughey’s fame was not quite so big when he was cast for the series as it was when it was airing, during which time Dallas Buyer’s Club, for which he won the Oscar, came out.

Noting that “we decided to free ourselves from the notion of ‘star’ and lead with great acting,” Lombardo said, “I think the people we will cast will be well-known names, but that wasn’t our ambition.”

He also answered a question about whether season two’s principal cast, as has been reported, will consist of two male and one female actors by saying, “I promise you it will not be that long before it’s all coming out,” he said.

Other highlights from the session include:

--Lombardo said that he ran into Curb Your Enthusiasm creator and star Larry David at an event recently and asked David whether he should give up on there being another season of the show. “Nononononono!” he said David responded. Lombardo added that as long as David “is still thinking about it,” another season remains a possibility.

--Asked about the forthcoming Westworld series and how it might differ from the 1973 film, Plepler said, “There’s no Yul Brynner.”

--Lombardo said the network is still committed to finishing production on the pilot for the Ryan Murphy-produced series Open. “Ryan is down in New Orleans back with American Horror Story. Our hope is that this fall when the actors become available, we can actually do some shooting on it.”

--Plepler also said that the network is still committed to making the miniseries from Sopranos creator David Chase about old Hollywood, announced five years ago. “It’s not dead at all. In fact he is working on it and spoke to both of us a couple months ago.”

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