Take this with several grains of bread and salt.
A report from a meeting of a group of TV networks in France has revealed the alleged runtimes of the six final episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Premiere magazine reported the following from an Orange Cinema Series presentation about the upcoming GoT season 8.
The magazine claims the first two episodes of the season are 60 minutes each, and the final four episodes are 80 minutes each (the screenshot below says 6×90, but the reporter in the room explained the speaker clarified that).
Now here come the caveats, of which there are two big ones.
The first is that this is not remotely confirmed by HBO. Premiere noted this as well, adding, “the exact length of each episode has yet to be announced by HBO, OCS just gave us a more precise idea.”
The second is that there is no way in seven hells that four GoT episodes are each exactly 80 minutes. Thrones episode lengths vary wildly (Varys wildly?). For instance, the run times of season 7 were 59, 59, 63, 50, 59, 71 and 81 minutes.
When it comes to GoT episode lengths, there’s one number of significance — 60 — because HBO drama episodes must normally run 60 minutes or less. If an episode goes over an hour, the show’s producers must get permission from the network because that would impact the schedule (not just at HBO, but at the company’s content distributors around the world, such as in France). Given the popularity of GoT, few, I’m sure, complain when the fantasy hit goes long — but that is likely why, when you look at the season 7 run times above, three episodes come in a hair under the hour mark.
So what are we to make of this report? My speculation is that, if this information is accurate, that 60, 60, 80, 80, 80, 80 will translate into two episodes that are nearly an hour and then four that are between 70-85 minutes — so, still, plenty of super-sized episodes (quite possibly the longest average episode length in the show’s history), but not quite as perfectly rounded as what was estimated on stage.
Previously, HBO boss Richard Plepler has said of the final season: “It’s a spectacle. The [showrunners] have done six movies. The reaction I had while watching them was, ‘I’m watching a movie.'”
Game of Thrones returns April 14.
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