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'Westworld' renewed for second season

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HBO

Westworld 2.0 is officially happening.

HBO has ordered a second season of the sci-fi robopocalypse thriller — along with renewing fellow fall freshman series Divorce and Insecure. All three will have another 10 episodes.

There’s just one catch: Given its epic scope, Westworld probably won’t return until 2018, says HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys. The Westworld pick-up was expected as the show has delivered a mix of critical praise, pop culture buzz, and strong ratings (the series is averaging 11.7 million viewers across all the network’s platforms — more than even Game of Thrones racked up during its first season).

We spoke to the executive moments before the renewal announcement about Westworld, Game of Thrones, and more. Here are some highlights from the interview: 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Given the length of production for the first season, when do you think Westworld will return?

Casey Bloys: My suspicion is sometime in 2018 because of how big the world is and what goes into shooting it. So I don’t have a date exactly — they’re going to have to map it out and write the scripts — but my guess is sometime in ’18.

Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have obviously pitched you on their Westworld season 2 vision. What impressed you about it?

Jonah and Lisa great storytellers. I didn’t know exactly what to expect in season 2. And what they came up with is as exciting, mysterious and as fun as season 1. And completely original, as well.

Could Westworld, Insecure or Divorce have any kind a creative shift in their second seasons — particularly Divorce, which endured some harsh reviews from critics?

We’re happy with the directions all shows are headed a the end of their seasons and into their second seasons. I wouldn’t look for any major changes… Divorce took on a subject which we know is fraught and that it is probably the most honest look at divorce and that comes with some dangers. It’s a painful subject, it’s a really black comedy, it’s not for everybody. It’s important to put it out there.

Have Game of Thrones prequel talks with George R.R. Martin yet yielded a specific idea at this point that might get put into development?

I would say it’s still kind of preliminary, ongoing talks. There are areas we are exploring but I wouldn’t point to any one and say this is what we’re going to do.

Some people on Thrones have long lobbied for the final couple hours to be released in theaters. Your predecessor wasn’t a fan of this idea. But what do you think?

I want everything I can get for HBO, let me put it that way. 

True Detective season 3 and The Night Of season 2 update?

They’re thinking about ideas, and when they find something, that’s when I’ll hear from them. I don’t have anything to report on either of them other than they’re thinking about what the best-next version is.

That Deadwood movie? Has David Milch shown you anything yet?

I know he’s writing a script. I have not seen one yet.

Has the fate of Bill Simmons’ show, or the election of Donald Trump, impacted how you much you might be relying on Jon Stewart or John Oliver in the future? Could we be getting more of either?

I’ll take as much John Oliver as I can get. In terms of Jon Stewart, he really is putting together a whole animation studio. My hope is that it’s up and running and putting out content in first quarter of ’17. Does the election change things? I think it’s more important, now more than ever, that we have voices like that who will parse the information and call out what’s going on. 

Westworld episode 7 coverage: A deep-dive recap, our producers interview and actor Jeffrey Wright interview.

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