12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Game of Thrones,' 'Westworld' to Skip San Diego Comic-Con
In perhaps a sign of the Peak TV times, HBO is skipping this year's San Diego Comic-Con.
The premium cable network has opted to sit out the July 18-22 pop culture confab. The decision means that there will be no panels for HBO hits Game of Thrones or Westworld.
This marks the first time that Game of Thrones will skip its annual trip to San Diego Comic-Con, where it has appeared every year since its debut and has ranked among the most anticipated panels of the massive marketing event. Westworld made its SDCC debut last year. Game of Thrones will return for its final season in 2019, while the Westworld season two finale airs June 24. The series has not yet resumed production for the previously announced third season.
HBO will forgo the marketing side as well. The Westworld and Game of Thrones interactive activations that were the breakout hits of last year's event will be absent this time.
That HBO would opt to bypass the massive event comes amid rapidly growing competition in the Peak TV era, where scripted originals are expected to top 500 this year.
To be sure, bringing the cast and creators of any TV series to SDCC is an expensive undertaking and one that many outlets are carefully considering as the calendar presents more opportunities to promote new and returning programming. Smaller events provide better opportunities to cut through the cluttered landscape in a more financially feasible fashion.
Meanwhile, fellow premium cable network Starz has opted to focus on New York Comic-Con with Outlander and will also skip the San Diego event. Showtime may return for another Twin Peaks panel featuring a roster of secondary characters. Syfy (Deadly Class, Nightflyers), BBC America (Doctor Who) and History (Project Blue Book) are among the networks ready to present panels in San Diego. AMC is expected to bring panels for both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.
Bookmark THR.com/Comic-Con for more news and coverage from the annual event.