New HBO chief talks about Game of Thrones prequels

Last week, the business world was shocked when HBO CEO Richard Plepler, who’d been at the network in some capacity since 1992, announced his resignation, purportedly because Time Warner’s new parent company AT&T wasn’t going to allow him to run HBO with the independence to which he was accustomed. Now there’s a new sheriff in town: former NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. He’ll be in charge of WarnerMedia Entertainment, which includes HBO, TNT, TBS and truTV, as well as the company’s Direct-to-Consumer business.

In HBO, Greenblatt has inherited a powerful media company with a lot of big-name projects on the way, one of the most notable being the Game of Thrones prequel series, set thousands of years before the events of the main show. “I think to figure out a way to sustain ‘Game of Thrones’ or the ‘Game of Thrones’ world for the future is a really good idea — if it makes sense creatively and if everybody is on board,” Greenblatt told The Wrap.

Because the last thing you want to do is roll out a spinoff or two and they’re not up to the standard of the original show and then you’ve just sort of failed miserably. But sure, it makes sense to try to sustain it if we can. You know, can you really do two spinoffs? I don’t know. I mean, I’m not even sure you can do one. You know, so I don’t know yet is the big, long boring answer and I wish I did.

We’ve only heard details on the one, but at one point there were at least five Game of Thrones spinoff projects in development, although HBO never intended to make them all. Greenblatt’s position, that the network should take it slow and make sure they have a show that works rather than blasting us with new GoT content just because it can, is pretty similar to Plepler’s.

“But look, networks always face these turning points, shows get to a point where they’ve run their course and you have to, you know, replenish the network,” Greenblatt said. “And that’s a challenge, that’s an exciting challenge and you usually find ways to do that. Do I wish there were three or four more years of ‘Game of Thrones’? Sure. But I think everyone is up for the challenge of what’s the next ‘Game of Thrones,’ what’s the next ‘Veep’?”

With luck and love, there are quite a few shows in HBO’s lineup that could replace its current hits, from an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials to Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen show to a new series from J.J. Abrams. We’ll see soon enough how Greenblatt manages them.

Production on the Game of Thrones prequel pilot. Hopefully HBO picks it up for a full series.

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