HBO Talks Programming with the Television Critics Association

TCAHBO may not have had a lot of news to offer at Comic-Con 2013 but had plenty to say in front of the Television Critics Association today (Thursday, 07.25.13). The event was HBO’s chance to tell the writers who review HBO’s programming what is coming ahead. HBOWatch now spells out what came out at that TCA panel.

  •  GAME OF THRONES and TRUE BLOOD – For both series there is no end in sight! HBO CEO Richard Plepler had this to say – “They can go as long as there is story.” Well we always knew GAME OF THRONES was projected for at least seven seasons, right? HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo had this to say about TRUE BLOOD – “It feels like there is a new energy this season, and the show still has a large fan base.” Of course, both shows have been renewed for another season.


  •  THE NEWSROOM – A third season is looking promising! We quote Mr. Lombardo again on this matter – “The odds are excellent. We’re enormously happy with the show. Conversations with Aaron Sorkin are all about scheduling as he has other commitments. If we can figure the scheduling, I will be shocked if you would not be hearing about a renewal soon. The numbers this season are surpassing last season.” Paul Greengrass has just signed on to direct Mr. Sorkin’s script about the “Chicago 7” so that helps free THE NEWSROOM’s scribe’s schedule right there.


  • ENLIGHTENED – When asked about what happened with this show Mr. Lombardo simply said – “The show didn’t grow in the second year. The most important element is we felt creatively the story of Amy had come to a natural resting place.” Yeah, it kind of did.


  • FAMILY TREE – The verdict is still out for a Season Two. Mr. Lombardo stated – ”It is a co-production with the BBC, and they’re interested in doing another season. It didn’t find as robust an audience as we’d hoped for but we’re proud of it.”



  • CRIMINAL JUSTICE – With the death of this show’s executive producer and star James Gandolfini it is up in the air what happens to this green-lit limited series. Mr. L., who seemed to have done most of the talking, said – “Jim’s passing took the wind out of our sails. I can’t imagine airing the pilot with James in it. Conversations would be about reshooting the portion in the pilot with Jim and recasting the role.” So, the show is not dead as the HBO executives also stated that director Steve Zaillian and head writer Richard Price are still looking into continuing the project.


  • HELLO LADIES – Show creator Stephen Merchant was available to the assembled to talk about his upcoming eight episode series. When asked about why this show and why without long time partner Ricky Gervais, Mr. Merchant said – “It was actually HBO’s idea. They suggested a sitcom after seeing my standup act. And because Ricky has been in a relationship with his girlfriend Jane since he was like 20, and I have huge issues in my dating life, it just evolved as being my own.”  He plays a gangly English web designer named Stuart who is transplanted to Los Angeles. It’s all about his hapless attempts to blend in with the sophisticated L.A. social scene. He also mentioned that he hopes to “lure across the pond” British actors, as opposed to Hollywood guest appearances, to make for a different kind of show than his norm. HELLO LADIES premieres on 09.29.13.



  • CURB YOAUR ENTHUSIASM – Larry David held court at the TCA to talk about his HBO Film CLEAR HISTORY not his HBO sitcom. About the show’s return he remarked – “I don’t know, I haven’t decided. I couldn’t say. … Ask me in six months.”I will say this, I was thinking of doing another season of Curb or doing a movie, and I thought perhaps it’s time I tried something else.” So, I hope you enjoy CLEAR HISTORY when it debuts on 08.10.13. Oh, a Liev Schreiber is intentionally not listed in the credits of the film because HBO is mad he is starring in the Showtime drama Ray Donovan. Check out that news here.


  • MIKE TYSON: THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH – This piece just got the go-ahead as an HBO project not too long ago. Mike Tyson himself and director Spike Lee shared thoughts on the work. It seems that it started as a Los Vegas act with a band until Mr. Lee showed interest and it turned into the one-man show on Broadway. Mr. Tyson offered – “Spike changed it to just me though I liked it with the band a lot too.” Mr. Lee gives a bit of insight about the special when he told those present that the scripted show was shot over two performances with 11 cameras coving every possible angle. About his subject matter Spike Lee stated that “Mike Tyson is the most honest human being I’ve ever met in my life. When you see this, he’s out there on the stage naked, displaying his dark parts and his demons to the world. It’s the most courageous thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”  It is expected to air yet this year.   



  • DANNY MCBRIDE – The comedy EASTBOUND AND DOWN is not the end of the relationship between Danny McBride and HBO. Michael Lombardo quipped simply that Mr. McBride and business partner Jody Hill are “going to take a look at high school,” after their current series ends. Of the Kenny Powers stint, Mr. L. said, “It was a slow build for us — started slow and built exponentially.” EASTBOUND AND DOWN starts its fourth and final season on 09.29.13.


  • DAVID MILCH – Yes, that David Milch of DEADWOOD, JOHN FROM CINCINNATI and LUCK fame just might return to HBO. The project in mind is called THE MONEY. HBO CEO Plepler stated, “It’s a look at a dynastic New York media family, a look at power, the complexity of modern urban life in a classic Milchian voice.” HBOWatch will give more detail on this work, for now called THE MONEY,  for sure as more becomes available.


The above is not earth-shattering details but merely solid quotes about what is ahead for HBO. As usual HBOWatch will keep an eye on all the upcoming developments and, we are sure, so will the television critics who heard all this first hand. Check back; we know you will!





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