Not a Blog

HBO, GOT Smash Records

July 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm
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The nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning in Hollywood, and HBO and GAME OF THRONES both set new records.  GOT collected 32 nominations, a new record for the number of nominations for one show in a single year.. and by doing so, extended its previous record for the most nominations ever earned by one series, drama or comedy.  And HBO racked up a total of 137 nominations, 20 more than second-place finisher Netflix who came in with 117.

GOT is a finalist in the Best Drama category, and also earned nominations for directing (three finalists out of five), writing, and acting, among many many others.   Of special note is the Best Supporting Actress Drama category, where four of the six finalists are from GAME OF THRONES:  Lena Headey, Gwendoline Christie, Maisie Williams, and Sophie Turner.   A pretty spectacular showing for our amazing cast.

You can read the full list of nominations here:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/16/entertainment/game-of-thrones-emmy-nominations/index.html

https://www.vox.com/2019/7/16/20696364/emmy-nominations-2019-full-list-nominees

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-emmy-nominations-list-see-all-the-nominations-1221226

My congratulations to David Benioff, Dan Weiss, our producers, directors, and all the rest of our amazing cast and crew… those who were nominated and those who were overlooked alike, they all have reason to be proud.   They came together to create the most popular television show in the world, and the most acclaimed, nominated, and awarded series in the entire history of television.   And they did with a fantasy, a genre that previously had gotten very little respect.   GAME OF THRONES changed television, and let us hope that all the fantasy shows that follow — some GOT prequels, many not — will take the torch we lit and carry it proudly.

This year’s winner will be announced in LA on September 22.

 

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

An Ending

May 20, 2019 at 8:41 pm
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The last night, the last show.   After eight epic seasons, HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series has come to an end.

It is hard to believe it is over, if truth be told.   The years have gone past in the blink of an eye.  Can it really have been more than a decade since my manager Vince Gerardis set up a meeting at the Palm in LA, and I sat down for the first time with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for a lunch that lasted well past dinner?  I asked them if they knew who Jon Snow’s mother was.   Fortunately, they did.

That was how it started.  It ended last night.

I had no clue, that afternoon at the Palm, that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life.   I had optioned books and stories for television and film before.  Some had even been made   There was no way to know that this one was going to be different, that this pilot would not only be shot,  but would go on to become the most successful show in the history of HBO, win a record number of Emmy Awards, become the most popular (and most pirated) show in the world, and transform a group of talented but largely unknown actors into major celebrities and stars.   Even less did I imagine that I would somehow become a celebrity as well… and if truth be told, I’m still not sure how that happened.

It has been a wild ride, to say the least.

I want to thank people, but there are so many.   There were forty-two cast members at the season eight premiere in New York City, and that wasn’t even all of them.   And the crew, though less visible than the cast, were no less important.  We had some amazing people working on this show, as all those Emmys bear witness.   David & Dan assembled a championship team.   The directors were incredible as well.   I should start naming names, but then I’d miss someone, there were so many.   But I do need to mention David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Bryan Cogman (the third head of the dragon, as I said in the recent VANITY FAIR piece about him), and of course the great team at HBO, headed by Richard Plepler.   Any other network, and GAME OF THRONES would not have been what it became.  Most other networks, this series never gets made at all.

I could go on and on… and have, as I’ve been writing this post in my head… but there’s really too much to say.   Parting is such sweet sorrow, the Bard wrote.  In the weeks and months to come, I may post about some of my favorite moments from the making of this show… now and again, when I am feeling nostalgic… but just now, there are so many memories, and no time to do them all justice.

Let me say this much — last night was an ending, but it was also a beginning.   Nobody is retiring any time soon.   David and Dan are going on to STAR WARS and other projects beyond that.   Amazon scooped up Bryan Cogman, and put him to work on developing shows of his own, as well as helping out on their big Tolkien project.   Our brilliant cast has scattered to the four winds, but you’ll be seeing a lot of them in the years to come, in all manner of television shows and movies.   Our directors are keeping busy as well.   I suspect that you have not seen the last of Westeros on your television sets either, but I guess that all depends on how some of these successor shows turn out.

And me?  I’m still here, and I’m still busy.    As a producer, I’ve got five shows in development at HBO (some having nothing whatsoever to do with the world of Westeros), two at Hulu, one on the History Channel.   I’m involved with a number of feature projects, some based upon my own stories and books, some on material created by others.   There are these short films I am hoping to make, adaptations of classic stories by one of the most brilliant, quirky, and original writers our genre has ever produced.   I’ve consulted on a video game out of Japan.   And then there’s Meow Wolf…

And I’m writing.   Winter is coming, I told you, long ago… and so it is.   THE WINDS OF WINTER is very late, I know, I know, but it will be done.  I won’t say when, I’ve tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself… but I will finish it, and then will come A DREAM OF SPRING.

How will it all end? I hear people asking.   The same ending as the show?  Different?

Well… yes.  And no.  And yes.   And no.   And yes.   And no.   And yes.

I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget.   They had six hours for this final season.   I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them.   And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I’ve been talking about that since season one.   There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books… so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet.   And yes, there will be unicorns… of a sort…

Book or show, which will be the “real” ending?   It’s a silly question.   How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have?

How about this?  I’ll write it.   You read it.  Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet.

 

 

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

The Regular-Sized Council Meets

April 14, 2019 at 9:33 am
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Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

Season Eight Approaches

March 7, 2019 at 9:16 pm
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The eighth and final season of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES will be upon us in April.

HBO has just released a new trailer.

Enjoy.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

SuperBowl Shocker

February 5, 2019 at 11:14 am
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This year’s SuperBowl kind of sucked, but as ever the commercials were fun — especially the Bud Light commercial.   No one was more surprised — and delighted — by the twist it took than I was.

Here’s an extended version:

Now that we’ve taken care of the Bud Knight, we need to send some dragons after Colonel Sanders and the Energized Bunny, I’m thinking.

Current Mood: surprised surprised

Season 8 Is Coming

January 17, 2019 at 6:51 am
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HBO has announced the premiere date for the eighth (and final) season of GAME OF THRONES.

Mark it down on your calendars: APRIL 14.

There’s a new teaser too (and a longer trailer in the works):

Current Mood: excited excited

Long Night Casting

October 30, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series to ordered to film.

HBO has just announced the first cast member: NAOMI WATTS is coming on board as one of our stars.

For more details, check out https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/game-of-thrones-prequel-pilot-naomi-watts-hbo-1202977630/

I could not be more excited.   Welcome to Westeros, Naomi.

Jane Goldman scripted the LONG NIGHT pilot and will be running the show.   She and her team are busy in London right now, neck deep in casting, and I expect some more names will be announced soon.

Meanwhile, there are still a couple of other possible prequels in active development.   I can’t tell you the subject matter of those projects, no, sorry, wish I could.   The readers among you might want to grab a copy of FIRE & BLOOD when it is released on November 20, though.

And speaking of FIRE & BLOOD, tickets are going fast for our big launch at Loew’s Jersey on Journal Square on November 19.   If you’d like to join us, snag one soon and come join me and John Hodgman for an evening of talk about Westeros, in a classic old movie palace.

 

Current Mood: excited excited

HBO Greenlights Goldman Pilot

June 11, 2018 at 9:02 am
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There’s a lot happening these days, so much that some days it feels as if I cannot even keep up with my own life.   So let me beg your indulgence for being late to the party with this news — but, yes, it is true, after more than a year of development, HBO has greenlit the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor shows that we’ve been working on, scripted by the amazing Jane Goldman.

Everybody else has already broken the news, so there’s no sense in me just rehashing.  You can read all about here:

https://www.newsarama.com/40289-hbo-greenlights-game-of-thrones-prequel-series-report.html

or here

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/hbo-moves-forward-pilot-order-untitled-game-thrones-prequel-thr-news-1118608

or in half a hundred other places.   Pick the news outlet you like best,

To clarify, what we have here is a pilot order, not as yet a series order.   Though of course we are all hoping that will follow.

Yes, this is a prequel, not a sequel.   None of the characters or actors from GAME OF THRONES will appear in the new show.   All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before.   This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long).   We’re very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don’t have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title.   (My vote would be THE LONG NIGHT, which says it all, but I’d be surprised if that’s where we end up.  More likely HBO will want to work the phrase “game of thrones” in there somewhere.  We’ll know sooner or later).

We do have a showrunner: Jane Goldman, who penned the pilot script.

All of the news stories about the pilot being greenlit are slapping my own picture up there next to Jane’s, which is very flattering but also a little misleading Remember, they also slapped my picture up on the news stories about the TV development of Nnedi Okarafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH, when they should have been using Nnedi’s picture. I’ve consulted with all of the writers on all of the successor shows, and several of them have visited me in Santa Fe for long days of discussion, and we’ve gone back and forth in email, text, and telephone, so I have definitely been involved… but really, the accolades here should go to Jane.   She has been an absolute thrill to work with… and my god, what a talent.

Those of you who are fans of not just GAME OF THRONES, but of television, film, and sf and fantasy in the broader sense are already well familiar with her work, whether you know it or not.   She’s wrote the KINGSMEN movies, scripted one X-MEN film and did the story for another, did the screenplay for the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s STARDUST, and for the superhero satire KICKASS as well.   Among lots of other credits.  Oh, and she’s written the script for Disney’s forthcoming live action version of THE LITTLE MERMAID too.   Can’t wait for that one.

I will try to keep you all informed as work progresses on the new show (whatever we end up calling it)… though, given the amount of stuff I am trying to juggle right now, news will probably break on a dozen other places before I get around to it, as happened here.

As for the other successor shows… if you have been following along, you know that we started with four, and eventually went to five.   One of those has been shelved, I am given to understand, and of course Jane’s pilot is now moving to film.   But that does not mean the others are dead.   Three more GAME OF THRONES prequels, set in different periods and featuring different characters and storylines, remain in active development.   Everything I am told indicates that we could film at least one more pilot, and maybe more than one, in the years to come.   We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all.   But this is television, so nothing is certain.

(Oh, and WHO FEARS DEATH is moving along well too, and I am very excited about that one as well.  Selwyn Seyfu Hinds did a terrific job with his first draft of the pilot, based on Nnedi’s novel).

(And yes, before you ask, work on WINDS OF WINTER continues, and remains my top priority.   It is ridiculous to think otherwise.   If I wasn’t busy with WINDS, don’t you think I’d be scripting one or more of these pilots myself?  It’s not as if I’ve never written for TV… )

So cross your fingers and your toes, fantasy fans.   Some good stuff is coming.   And let’s have a round of applause for Jane Goldman.

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

City of the Angels

November 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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I have a love/ hate relationship with Los Angeles.

I spent a lot of time there back in the 80s and 90s, when I was on TWILIGHT ZONE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and in the years that followed, when I was in development hell. A good decade, all told. At least three of those years were spent on the 405, I seem to recall… but in any case, I have lots of good memories of LA, and some bad memories as well. I made lots of friends out there. And even now, my work requires me to visit the City of Angels (which seems less angelic every day, if you’re reading the news) several times a year.

Those visits are usually mixed bags. I do business, which is necessary. Sometimes I come home with awards, which is great. I check in on old friends, always a pleasure (though all of us get older every year). From time to time I make new friends, always a joy. But I hate driving in LA even more than I did in the 90s, if that is possible, and the weather is usually beastly. So bloody hot and humid I don’t know how anyone can stand it. Then, of course, there are the meetings. Some are fun, some are not. Even the best meetings, it seems, seldom lead to anything real.

Last week, however, I had a great visit to LA. The weather, for once, was gorgeous. Not too hot, not too humid, beautiful blue skies, stunning sunsets.

When I wasn’t gazing out over the city from the balcony of my room at the Four Seasons, I was having meetings. HBO meetings, for the most part… exciting stuff, and they all went well… and meetings with some major film studios as well, about possible adaptions of some of my other work. All very exciting. Cross your fingers, cross your toes, I might have thrilling news down the line.

I also got to check in with some of those old friends I mentioned. One of the highlights was the dinner I shared with some of the folks I worked with on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The whole gang could not be there, but we did gather (from left to right) Linda Campanelli (writer), Jay Acovone (Joe Maxwell), Ron Koslow (creator, showrunner), yours truly (writer/ producer), Ron Perlman (Vincent), and David Schwartz (producer). It was a grand gathering. We told some stories and shared some laughs, and of course we all lifted a glass to the memory of Roy Dotrice, our Father… who made it to 94, and still died way too young.

It was an honor to work on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and I’m proud of the work we did there.

((Comments permitted, if you STAY ON TOPIC))

Current Mood: calm calm

And Then There Were Five…

September 20, 2017 at 11:39 am
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… GAME OF THRONES successor shows, that is.

Truth be told, we’ve had five scripts in various stages of development for months. Which I believe I mentioned…

But now at last all the deals are signed, and it can be told. BRYAN COGMAN has come on board to pen the fifth of the successor shows. James Hibberd broke the news on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

http://ew.com/tv/2017/09/20/game-thrones-bryan-cogman-5th-prequel/

Bryan Cogman should need no introduction for any GAME OF THRONES fan. He’s been part of the show since the beginning… since before the beginning, actually, since he was first hired as assistant to David Benioff and D.B Weiss way before the series got on the air, before even the pilot had been filmed. From those humble beginnings, he advanced to staff writer, to story editor, to co-producer and producer and supervising producer. Less formally, he has also been GOT’s “Keeper of the Lore,” the guy who knew the canon better than anyone (except me, though sometimes I am not even sure of that). He’s written more episodes of GAME OF THRONES than anyone but Dan & David… including some of our very best ones. If D&D have been the kings of Westeros for these past seven seasons, Bryan Cogman has surely been the Prince of Dragonstone.

I’d love to tell you more about the series Bryan will be working on… but we haven’t done that for the other four successor shows, so we shouldn’t for this one either. All in good time.

I can say that, like the other pilots, it will be a prequel rather than sequel, a successor rather than a spinoff. Bryan’s series will be an adaptation, and one that will thrill most fans of the books, I think, set during a very exciting period of Westerosi history. And I’ll be working with him every step of the way; we’re going to be co-creating the show.

Meanwhile, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, Max Borenstein, and Carly Wray are all at work on the other four successor shows. I’ve been working with them as well (some more closely than others), and I’m excited by some of the ideas they’re coming up with. HBO should have a wealth of material to choose from. (And that’s not even counting the four weird-ass series concepts I’ve come up on my own, just for the hell of it. There are eight million stories in the naked city, and maybe ten times as many in Westeros and the lands beyond the narrow seas).

You should not expect to see all five shows, though, at least not immediately.. much as I might love the idea, HBO is not about to become the GAME OF THRONES network… but we could possibly see two or even three make it to the pilot stage, with one series emerging on air in 2019 or 2020… and the others maybe later, if they come out as well as we all hope. Then again, maybe… but I should not speculate, you folks get WAY too excited. Truth is, no one knows. Least of all me.

For now, suffice it to say that Bryan Cogman has signed on, and we’re thrilled.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy