In a world where viewers can select from hundreds of shows and channels, HBO is on a mission to remind people that it's quality, not quantity that should matter most when they're sitting down for a weekend binge-watching fest.
While at the "Best of HBO" panel in Israel last week, Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, not-so-subtly dragged Netflix for its recent decision to invest in 700 new and returning original series and movies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bloys claimed that unlike HBO, Netflix was "in the volume business" and was more focused on bringing in hot names like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes than it was on curating top-tier content.
"The reason they're getting paid so much is they're so prolific,” he said, referring to Murphy and Rhimes, who signed $300 million and $100 million contracts, respectively. "That's a very valuable talent."
It's a talent he wouldn't turn down if given the chance, too; but, unlike Netflix, he'd want the them to focus on "the one show they absolutely want to do," rather than fill up their schedules with a handful of half-hearted programs. For the record, we have no reason to believe either of the directors/producers will let the ball drop on their upcoming projects.
So, what's the HBO solution? According to Francesca Orsi, HBO senior vp of drama, they plan on investing in things they know are working, such as Game of Thrones.
Go out with a bang
First, Orsi said they're going to make sure season eight is unforgettable for both viewers and the actors; and, if her recollection of the cast's recent table read is any indication, the episodes will be filled with lots of blood and tears.
"None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started to fall down to their deaths," she said. "By the end, the last few words on the final script, the tears just started falling down. Then there was applause that lasted 15 minutes."
Make spinoffs — lots of them
And, for those of us who are going to miss the series, Orsi had one reassuring word: spinoffs. According to THR, the exec said HBO was planning to spend a fortune to make "three, four, five" Game of Thrones spinoffs.
"$50 million (per season) would never fly for what we are trying to do. We are going big," Orsi said. That may seem like a lot of money, and it is; but when you consider that the network sometimes spent $15 million an episode for the original series and pays its actors handsomely, it makes sense that they'd want to keep up.
Hire some of the best people to make the spinoffs happen
Finally, THR reports that HBO would be enlisting the help of people like Max Borenstein (Minority Report), Jane Goldman (The Woman In Black), Carly Wray (Westworld), and Brian Helgeland (A Knight's Tale) to breathe life into creative and compelling storylines.
Could it be possible that something even bigger than winter is coming our way?
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