Grab the nearest bottle of fine Dornish red and your cleanest goblet, because it's time to celebrate: Game of Thrones is getting one more season than expected. Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo dismissed the widely held idea that show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are capping the flagship fantasy drama at seven seasons. "'Seven seasons and out' has never been the conversation... The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do. [Benioff and Weiss] feel like there's two more years after six," Lombardo said.
It's not surprising that HBO is willing to give Benioff and Weiss virtually unlimited time to bring their story home. Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, and it drives a tremendous amount of conversation online. As long as production costs are kept in check and the show's quality is kept high enough to retain viewers, it's a no-brainer for the network to keep it alive.
Benioff and Weiss have maintained that their exit plan involves seven seasons for years, but they've also introduced a little wiggle room in recent months. "We've always said [seven seasons], but we have to talk to HBO and come to an understanding. There's a temptation to keep going with it because we're still having fun, but you don't want to ruin it by tacking on a couple of extra years," Benioff said in an April interview with Rolling Stone. Based on Lombardo's comments, that temptation might have won out over their long-held plan.