Avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers is about to get a lot easier for fans outside the United States.
In an unprecedented move, HBO’s fantasy hit will debut in more than 170 countries at the same time when the show returns for its fifth season April 12. Typically the release of the acclaimed drama is staggered, with fans in some countries having to wait months to see new episodes after they air in the U.S. Every episode of season 5 will air on the same dates in most of the world (though not quite everywhere—Thrones is carried in a total of 207 territories).
“We are thrilled to see our international partners jumping on board to bring Game of Thrones, one of the most universally loved television shows in the world, to global audiences at the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S.,” said Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. “It’s going to be a great season.” Among those participating are HBO Asia, HBO Canada, HBO Europe, HBO Latin America, HBO Netherlands and HBO Nordic.
The move coincides with HBO launching its long-awaited stand-alone streaming service, HBO Now, which will become available next month via iTunes for $14.99. Probably not coincidentially, the length of time it takes to wait for new episodes in foregin countries and the lack of a stand-alone app have been the top explanations given by fans who illegally download the show, which ranks as the most heavily pirated series in the world.
Most crucially: This means everybody around the world can read EW.com’s Game of Thrones recaps Sunday night. No more waiting.