During the IN-TV Conference this weekend in Jerusalem, HBO execs confirmed that the final season of Game of Thrones will be all that it has been hyped up to be. The panel, titled “The Best of HBO,” saw HBO’s SVP of drama Francesca Orsi, programming president Casey Bloys and drama chief David Levine discuss the future of two of HBO’s most anticipated returning shows.
Orsi spoke about a table reading in which the entire team read the last six scripts of the series. She said (per Variety), “It was amazing. By the very end, everyone looked down and looked up and tears were in their eyes.” After reading the scripts, everyone proceeded to stand and applaud the end of one of the most epic sagas in television history. “It was a really powerful moment in our lives and our careers,” Orsi recalled before adding, “None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths.” The series is confirmed to return in 2019. Working on the project has been “a dream opportunity,” Orsi also said during the panel.
The execs revealed their hopes of Game of Thrones spinoffs, too, promising they will live up to the original show and of course fan expectations. “It feels like corporate malfeasance to not continue it,” said Orsi. “That’s why it spawned three, four, five spinoffs, she noted, adding that “we’re going big”—so big, in fact, that Orsi thinks $50 million per season wouldn’t fly. Last year, HBO announced what to sort of expect with the spinoffs in development.
On top of Game of Thrones looking like it definitely won’t disappoint in its final run, the HBO execs also spoke of the forthcoming Big Little Lies season two. “We feel really confident we have to more to do and say, and there’s passion on the part of the cast,” said Orsi. “The scripts are as good, if not better, than last season,” she said. Since the show was not originally intended to run for a second season, the panel also discussed the financial challenges faced when transitioning from a planned single season to a second installment. A lot of the hurdles involved cast renegotiations with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, who received huge salary bumps, since no options were in place for them from the first season.
This is a very exciting time for HBO as they also just announced a new limited series in the works that will reunite Nicole Kidman and David E. Kelley.