Even though Game of Thrones doesn’t debut until April 17, HBO is already considering a renewal for the lavish fantasy epic. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been asked to start thinking about story lines for next season, while HBO series chief Sue Naegle tells EW that network executives are ”feeling confident” the show will get another round.
The bullishness isn’t necessarily predicting strong ratings. Subscription-based networks like HBO focus on delivering premium content rather than mammoth Nielsens. That’s why cop-doctor-lawyer procedural dramas (which draw big numbers for broadcasters) are rare on the pay networks — they’re not considered unique enough. Thrones is the most ambitious fantasy TV series ever produced and comes with a devoted fan base that devoured George R.R. Martin’s best-selling novels. It’s the type of programming HBO believes viewers will pay to see — on the air, and then in the DVD and international marketplace.
Plus, with its first 10 episodes costing at least $50 million, having only a single outing makes for a rather disastrous proposition. Says Naegle: ”You don’t want to see shows like this that are a big investment do one season and out.”