HBO Boss Talks Thrones End Date, Recasting James Gandolfini, Enlightened's Demise

game-of-thrones-season-3-finale-300There is no end in sight for Game of Thrones and True Blood, HBO’s top programming exec maintained to reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

“It can go on as long as there are stories to tell,” network president Michael Lombardo said of Thrones‘ future. Regarding True Blood, which was just renewed for a seventh season, Lombardo pointed to a new energy under new showrunner Brian Buckner, adding, “No decisions have been made.”

RELATED | Cable Renewal Scorecard: What’s Cancelled? What’s Returning? What’s on the Bubble?

Other highlights from HBO’s exec session:

* The shortened final season of Treme bows Dec. 1.

* The fourth and final season of Eastbound & Down will find Kenny “struggling with marriage, suburbia and his continue demons,” teased Lombardo.

* Julia Louis Dreyfuss’ Veep alter ego Selina Meyer will be running for POTUS in Season 3. “Next season we’ll see her on a bus a lot,” confirmed Lombardo. “She’ll be out on the campaign trail.”

* “We’re having conversations on how to proceed” with Criminal Justice in the wake of James Gandolfini’s passing, said Lombardo. “I can’t imagine us airing the pilot with James in it. Jim’s passing took the wind out of our sails at HBO.” The most likely scenario has HBO “reshooting” the pilot with a new actor in Gadolfini’s role.

* Enlightened‘s miniscule viewership was a factor in the show’s cancellation after two seasons, but it wasn’t the only factor. “We felt creatively that Amy’s story had come to a natural resting place,” said Lombardo. “We felt it was best to end it where we did.”

* A new project, potentially a spin-off series, featuring Melissa George’s Hunted alter ego Sam Hunter is in development at Cinemax.

* The Clive Owen-fronted medical drama The Knick has been given a 10-episode order at Cinemax. Steven Soderbergh, an exec producer on the circa 1900 project, will direct all 10 episodes.

* A third season pickup for The Newsroom is a foregone conclusion, Lombardo confirmed.

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  1. Kevin says:

    Yeah, well, if they follow through and streamline the cast like they have been hinting they will in the season finale, then maybe True Blood should keep going. If not, it is time to shut down. Getting boring and too scattershot.

    • wrstlgirl says:

      I agree with you on this. True Blood is getting tired. If they can’t tighten it up they should let it go. I already know quite a few people that have stopped watching it.

    • DarkDefender says:

      Very unlikely that TB will be cancelled anytime soon.. It is still the most watched original HBO series. It’s like a train wreck you can’t stop watching. And for every viewer it loses due to plot, it gains 2 for all the half naked men it casts.

  2. Oz Paul says:

    I think they should keep/air it with Gandolfini still in it, would be a nice Epitaph & disrespectful to reshoot with a new actor

  3. Clayton says:

    What about Girls? I love that show, but I’m pretty sure it had similar ratings to Enlightened, or maybe not far behind at least. Thankfully we already have a season 3 renewal. I just hope the Emmy-buzz and critical acclaim are enough to keep the show on HBO for a couple more seasons.

    • Josh says:

      Girls has buzz. Every episode is talked about and dissected. So as long as that keeps up and the show doesn’t get too expensive, I could see it going on for a couple more seasons.

  4. Justin says:

    How did they not see more potential in Amy’s story in Enlightened? The third season could have easily been her battling them in court, while gathering the “middle players” to come around to her side. That show could have lasted another two seasons, at the very least.

  5. CR says:

    If they are successful in streamlining the stories of TB, I look forward to more. The only problem though with vampire shows going on for a long time is its impossible to keep the actors from obviously aging. Deborah Ann Woll is smokin hot, but it’s become almost impossible to suspend disbelief that she is a 17 year old. Vampire Diaries is running into the same issue. The amount of makeup they have been putting on Ian Somerhalder is becoming a distraction.

  6. Maddie says:

    very happy about the newsroom :)

  7. justin says:

    What True Blood should have done is split the show in half back when Jason was bit by the Were-Panther. Have Alcide’s Pack, Sam’s Shifters and Jason’s Pride be the focus of a new show and Sookie and all of the Vampire related stories continue on True Blood. You then have the people of Bon Temp go back and forth between the two shows.

  8. bobbie says:

    I don’t worry about actors getting too old for parts, mostly. In Shakespeare’s day, men played the women’s parts. In the early days of Doctor Who the scenery would wobble if there was a breeze. As long as the story has heart, I’m in.

    I’m totally glad about Game of Thrones. I sure am looking forward to books 6 & 7.
    I heard a rumor, I would love to know if it’s true, that not only is HBO making a series from American Gods, but that it would be at least a few seasons long. Anyone know how much truth there is to this?

    • CR says:

      I was confirmed in late June that American Gods is going to have a 6 season run on HBO, which they say is going to come out late 2013/early 2014. I’m leaning more toward 2014 since the cast hasn’t even been announced yet, but I can’ wait to see it.

      • Superhero says:

        This was never confirmed and, quite frankly, is a ridiculously absurd rumor. HBO MIGHT order a pilot at some point, and THEN you’ll get casting news, and then they’ll shoot the pilot, and THEN they MIGHT order ONE season of it. And we’re sure as hell not going to be seeing it in 2013 or 2014, if we see it at all.

  9. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I’m glad to see things working out for Sorkin.

  10. Hope True Blood should end after seven seasons if that’s the case, The Newsroom is a “sure thing” to get renewed for a third season and I don’t know how many more seasons Game of Thrones should last.

  11. Avery says:

    I totally agree that True Blood has got some new energy this season. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of last seasons storylines but so far this current season seems to be fresh with cool ideas so far. Considering the ratings still seem to be great I can see HBO continuing this show for many seasons to come.

  12. Fernanda says:

    Game of Thrones could have 3 or 4 more seasons but all depends on George R.R. Martin final books. My bet is Game of Thrones could be the next HBO show coming to the cinemas in a major feature film like Sex and the City and coming soon Entourage.

    True Blood is still a great show, but after the horrible ending of the book series I hope the writers skip all the bad stuffs from the books and give a proper ending. Thank god there are not were tigers in this universe. I never like Quinn character from the books.

  13. ben says:

    I would kind of hope that Game of Thrones will continue until all 7 of George Martin’s books have been told… which strikes me as potentially needing more than one season for some books, and also requires George R R Martin writing books 6 and 7 within the right time frame.

    All things considered, I hope that even if the 7th book isn’t out yet, the makers of the TV show will be in a position to tell the whole of Martin’s story with his blessing.

    • kc says:

      All 7 books? I hope people are still watching the series in 2035 when the 7th one comes out.

      • DonDraperSaysWhat says:

        Yes, he needs to kind of hurry up with writing. Like, I know he shouldn’t rush it, but the show will run into problems if they catch up before the books are published. I don’t want tit to limp out because they had nothing left to write for the TV show

    • Zach says:

      I guess he’s already told the producers how the series will end just in case something happens to him and he can’t finish writing.

  14. kirads09 says:

    I figure GoT TV series will continue and conclude when the book series does. I don’t think fans will accept much less (short of finishing it off in specials or films) “As long as there are stories to tell” :-)

  15. Patrick Maloney says:

    I’m so glad they cancelled Enlightened after just two seasons when they killed off either Bored to Death, Hung, or How to Make It in America for it

  16. Tom says:

    Eastbound and Down should have ended the way it did. It didn’t need another season.

  17. Mikael says:

    It seems like True Blood is trimming down from all of the scattered and useless side plots of the past few seasons. The only pointless one this year is Alcide, but apparently his plot intertwines with the rest at the end of the season. And I don’t mind the actors getting old; it’s a fictional show anyway.

  18. TV Gord says:

    I can’t imagine who would step in under the specter of Gandolfini, but I hope they do it right. My suggestion would be that they would find someone BIG who hasn’t done TV series before.

  19. sladewilson says:

    I miss The Wire. Best show ever.

  20. Juli says:

    In the True Blood books Eric tricks Sookie into a “vampire marriage”. I would like to see that storyline play out against the Warlow marriage contract, which isn’t in the books, would make for an insteresting story. I also find it curious how celibate Eric’s been this season. We’re to the 7th episode and he hasn’t slept with anyone. He usually deops his pants for anyone. What’s he holding out for, Sookie?

  21. Shane says:

    HBO needs to make a smart decision and produce 7 seasons (24 episodes each) of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower..only HBO could do it right.