The final season of Game of Thrones is wrapping up over the next few weeks, but fans of Westworld (HBO’s other star-studded, high-profile genre show) are still in for a bit of a wait, with WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and HBO president of programming Casey Bloys confirming to Deadline that the series won’t return until 2020.
There’s been speculation for a while that Westworld wouldn’t be back in 2019, but now it’s official. The news also raises a question — with Game of Thrones ending and Westworld not on the schedule for a year or more, what will HBO’s new marquee show be?
Bloys doesn’t seem concerned about holes in the company’s programming, pointing to shows like Succession, Sharp Objects, The Deuce, My Brilliant Friend, The Night Of, The Leftovers, Barry, Veep, High Maintenance, and John Oliver’s and Bill Maher’s shows, which have already filled the extended gap between the seventh and eighth seasons of Game of Thrones. He says new series like Euphoria, Watchmen, The Nevers, and His Dark Materials will also continue to carry the network forward in a post-Westeros world.
“Networks often go through these periods when signature shows go away, and people speculate on what the future is. And there’s always something that comes along that you didn’t expect,” adds Greenblatt.
Of course, one of the natural things that could take Game of Thrones’ place in HBO’s pantheon of shows would be more Thrones, but the company is stepping carefully to avoid (as Greenblatt puts it) “killing the golden goose and not putting on shows that aren’t up to that quality level.” A Thrones prequel series from author George R.R. Martin and Jane Goldman is in the works, but right now, HBO has only ordered a pilot for that show, “so that we can see if it has all the goods and is it worthy of going forward.”
But even if that pilot doesn’t make it to air, odds are that we haven’t seen the last of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world — with the final season of Game of Thrones once again breaking the show’s own ratings record with the season 8 premiere, HBO will likely keep trying until they find something that can replicate even a piece of that magic.