During a panel at the conference, HBO senior VP Francesca Orsi used an ill-conceived metaphor to respond to a question about the rising costs of production in the age of premium TV. One dominant theme emerged from their comments: go big or go home.
"$50 million (per season) would never fly for what we are trying to do", she declared.
Game of Thrones has been killing off characters with increasing regularity as it barrels toward its conclusion, so it's not remotely surprising to hear it'll keep up that pace in the final season. The season seven finale set a viewership records for the network with 12.1 million total live viewers and 16.5 million overall when accounting for streaming.
Get ready for some very fancy murders.
She added: "It feels like corporate malfeasance to not continue [Game of Thrones]".
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Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass), Brian Helgeland (Legend) and Carly Wray (The Leftovers) along with A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin were tapped to work on spinoff ideas. Now, she might just mean "emotionally" or something, but given the show's track record with its characters, we can't take anything for granted.
This is the first time HBO has ever developed a spin-off. Orsi said. "We can't obviously start with the budget of season eight but would it be a Game of Thrones season three budget?"
Francessca detailed how emotional the cast became during a "powerful" table read, which none of the cast had read before. "None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started to fall down to their deaths".
She added that everyone stood for over 15 minutes and applauded-"It was incredible".
"Big Little Lies" is expected to air in 2019 with Witherspoon, Kidman, Alex Skarsgård, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling and Iain Armitage.