11:09am PT by Michael O'Connell, Lesley Goldberg
'Game of Thrones' Renewed for Two More Seasons
HBO has renewed Game of Thrones for two additional seasons, taking the fantasy drama into its sixth cycle. News of the order comes two days after the record-breaking ratings for the fourth season premiere and weeks after renewing deals with co-creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
"Game of Thrones is a phenomenon like no other," said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. "David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with their talented collaborators, continue to surpass themselves, and we look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling."
Based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones has grown over recent years to become the network's biggest series. The most recent season grossed an average weekly audience of 14.4 million viewers, and Sunday's return brought in 6.6 million viewers -- HBO's most watched telecast since the 2007 series finale of The Sopranos.
The pricey series, which counts Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington among its sprawling cast of regulars, shoots across Europe with bases in Northern Ireland, Croatia and Iceland.
With the renewal, Game of Thrones becomes HBO's longest-running original scripted series currently on the air. It comes as no surprise given ratings and acclaim -- as well as the pay cable network's waning lineup of original scripted dramas. HBO this year will say farewell to True Blood following its seventh and final season, and Emmy darling Boardwalk Empire will also sign off after its upcoming fifth season.
Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom will return later this year for its third and final season as well. Anthology drama True Detective is also considered a lock to return but an official second-season renewal has not yet been announced. HBO this year will debut Damon Lindelof's adaptation of The Leftovers. Meanwhile, HBO has a rich comedy slate that also includes critical darling Silicon Valley, Girls, Getting On, Looking, Vice and upcoming half-hours The Brink, Ballers and Togetherness.