HBO CEO Richard Plepler Talks 'Game of Thrones' Prospects and International Growth

Richard Plepler- Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit-Getty-H 2016
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Talks for 'GOT's' future are in the "embryonic" stage.

The possibility of a future for the Game of Thrones franchise is in “embryonic conversations,” according to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, who also said he’s seen “proof of content” of Jon Stewart’s upcoming program and it is “dynamic and extremely creative.”

“It certainly has not escaped [HBO president of programming] Casey [Bloys] and myself that there might be some brand extension [for GOT] that would be exciting. It certainly has not escaped the producers,” Plepler told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. “Right now we’re focused on finishing the series with the kind of energy and excitement that everyone has come to expect. We’re going to do that while at the same time parallel processing very embryonic stages of other possibilities.”

The exec also said he’s less interested in setting a specific date for Stewart’s upcoming animated parody of a cable news network than establishing a long-term partnership with the man he called a “genius” and an “artist.”

“I’m less concerned that it arrives on any particular week than I am about its creative voice and vision,” said Plepler, mentioning Stewart’s team has built an animation studio for the new program. “I can tell you I couldn’t be more excited, as is the whole HBO team, about what we think Jon is hatching and what he will bring to the network next year. As I’ve said many times before, we try to work with the most talented people with great original voices, and nobody personifies that more than Jon Stewart.”

Plepler made the comments while in Madrid for the launch of HBO Spain, the company’s first direct-to-consumer launch in Europe since its successful Nordic rollout, which now boasts 1 million subscribers.

Plepler applauded the “case-by-case” strategy he said is working, citing recent licensing deals in Canada, Israel and Australia.

“We like our flexibility," he said. "It’s not a one-size-fits-all model. The beauty of having one global platform next year is we’ll have the dexterity to do the kind of things we want and that we think grow our business in the most effective way.”

Plepler added that “this year we’ll cross a billion dollars in revenue internationally, which is a sign of how robust our international business is.”