Jon Snow is dead.

That’s the word from HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo. Taking the stage in Beverly Hills for the summer press tour of the Television Critics Association, he responded to a variety of questions.

Just one problem with the Jon Snow response. He’s up there with a big ass grin answering the Jon Snow question:

“Dead is dead is dead. He’s dead. He be dead. Yes. Everything I’ve seen, heard, he’s dead. Jon Snow is indeed dead.”

Forgive me if I don’t buy that Michael. Not until the sixth season is here, and I see them torching Snow’s body. Maybe it’s false hope mixed with stubbornness, but I just can’t see him dying with everything that happened in the last season. Or staying dead….

Game of Thrones

If you love the show, you have a powerful fan in your corner. The original plan for Game of Thrones was for seven seasons Today? Michael Lombard is floating the idea of eight. He made it clear that HBO would love to see more.

“As I’ve said before, I would always love for them to change their minds. I think that’s what we’re looking at right now.” He is referring to the producing duo of David Benioff and DB Weiss.

Personally, I think eight is a solid number. Let the show have an amazing end. Sure, it grabs 20 million viewers, but it leads to an interesting quote from Lombardo about the future of the Game of Thrones Universe.

“I would be open to anything that Dan and David wanted to do about Game of Thrones or almost any subject matter. It really would depend fully for us on what they wanted to do. I think you’re right, there’s enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel if George and Dan and David decided they wanted to tackle that. At this point, all the focus is on figuring out the next few years with this show so we haven’t had any conversation about that at this point.”

Hell yes on a prequel. There’s plenty of backstory laid out in the books and the current show. Start writing the checks HBO.

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The HBO chief did have to answer to growing concerns the show is crossing the line with scenes of violence and sexual assault.

“I certainly have seen some articles, particularly with respect to Sansa. I think from the very beginning of this show, we see a 7-year-old boy pushed to his seeming death from a tower. This show has had violence as part of its many threads really from the first episode. So I don’t think… I can’t speak to any single person’s particular taste or saturating point. I think this show is phenomenal. It hit 20 million viewers this year. It went up over a million viewers on average from the prior season. I think it continues to grow dramatically. I think there’s no two showrunners who are more careful about not overstepping what they think the line is. And everyone has their own line, I understand that. But those things that are critical to the storytelling… I support them fully, artistically.”

That’s corporate speak for the show makes us a ton of money, so they get leeway.

HBO and True Detective

Ah, season two of True Detective. What the hell happened? I tried to steel myself against expectations after loving the first, but it just didn’t work. Lombardo admits he has read the complaints about True Detective’s second season, but he fully supports the show.

hbo michael lombardo on true detective

“Nic Pizzolatto is one of the best writers working in television and motion pictures today.” I think he takes a big swing. I think the show ends with as satisfying an end as any show I’ve seen.”

Hmm, nice endorsement. It must mean you’re going to announce a third season? That decision is being left to Pizzolatto. Right, HBO’s programming chief saying it’s up to the writer.

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HBO vs. Netflix

He hates the question, and it shows. Who wouldn’t despise the question when it hits you every time a microphone is placed in front of you. What are you going to do about Netflix? His response was two-fold. One, his team at HBO will not program defensively. And two, the real question is the competition between HBO, Netflix, Showtime and AMC. In the end, it’s all about quality.

Who can argue against quality? It is getting rather absurd the sheer amount of quality TV shows. I’m trying not to be a couch potato HBO. Help a brother out…

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