9:22am PT by Lesley Goldberg
HBO Confirms 'Game of Thrones' Will End With Season 8
It's truly the end of the road for HBO's Game of Thrones.
New HBO programming president Casey Bloys met the press Saturday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour and the first question he fielded was about the future of the HBO fantasy drama. The executive confirmed that, yes, the plan is for the yet-to-be-announced eighth season of the adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy drama to be its last.
"Yes, I think [the showrunners, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff] have a very specific plan about the number of seasons they want to do," said Bloys. "If I could get them to do more, I would take 10 seasons, but we want to take their lead with what they could do and what the best version of the show is."
HBO recently renewed the drama for a shortened seventh season — consisting of seven episodes — and producers have noted that they envision a total of 75 episodes of the series as a whole. Through season six, the show has produced 60 episodes.
Bloys reiterated that an episode count for the eighth season — which is all but a formality — has yet to be determined, but he noted that conversations for a spinoff remain on the table.
"We've talked about it," he said. "It's not something I'm opposed to, but it has to make sense creatively. I'm not sure the guys can wrap their heads around it when they are about to start production. We're open to it — the guys aren't opposed to it, but there's no concrete plans right now."
Game of Thrones ranks as HBO's most-watched — and longest-running — series. The recently concluded sixth season wrapped with an average of 25 million total viewers across multiple plays, DVR and non-linear viewing.
With the arrival of winter on the show, production will be delayed and the series, which typically bows in March or April, will not return until next summer. The decision will keep the fantasy drama out of the 2017 Emmy race, Bloys confirmed Saturday. Game of Thrones ranked as the most-nominated series for the third year in a row. Bloys told the press that he hoped that the cabler's upcoming fare — including Sarah Jessica Parker's Divorce and current critical darling mini The Night Of — will help make up for Thrones' absence.