While at the HBO portion of the TCA Press Tour, President of Programming Michael Lombardo and co-President Richard Plepler took some time to talk about new and returning programming. During the interview, they spoke about how long Game of Thrones and True Blood could run for, the status of the Entourage movie, their movie deal with Larry David and the affect that could have on future seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, their thoughts on the first season of The Newsroom, the possibility of a fourth season for Treme, and what viewers can expect from the Woody Harrelson/Matthew McConaughey series True Detective. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
Question: Provided the ratings stay at or about at their current level, how long do you see Game of Thrones and True Blood going for, and would Game of Thrones keep going on its own, if you run out of George R.R. Martin books?
RICHARD PLEPLER: Well, as long as George keeps writing, we’ll keep producing, and he seems very excited with that proposition. As long as he sees fit to keep creating, so will we.
MICHAEL LOMBARDO: Yeah. And I think with True Blood, the show’s obviously doing well. This coming year will be the first year Alan Ball is taking a little bit of a step back, but creatively, they’re still engaged and excited by the storytelling. As long as it continues to be performing with the consumer and, more importantly, exciting the storytellers, I think we’re there.
Do you know anything about the progress of the Entourage movie, and where that stands now?
LOMBARDO: As of this week, Doug [Ellin] is on page 65. He’s writing a film script, and he’s excited about it. I heard a very general pitch for it. After we take a look at the script, we will see if there is any interest. We still have to make deals with the cast, and then figure out whether it is something that makes sense or not. But, he’s in process of writing, as we speak.
What can you tell us about the movie deal you made with Larry David?
LOMBARDO: It is not for a Curb movie, but Larry is starring.
Will he be playing himself?
LOMBARDO: No, he’s not playing the Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm
What does a Larry David movie mean for future seasons of Curb?
PLEPLER: Well, it means whatever Larry wants it to mean, for future seasons of Curb. He essentially has carte blanche with us. Don’t quote us on that because he’ll take it, but he does. And when he wants to come back and do Curb, we’d be thrilled. Right now, he wants to do the movie, so we are thrilled about that.
LOMBARDO: After the last season of Curb, Larry sat down and said, “What is it that I want to do?,” and it was this film that he wanted to do. But, I don’t think he’s closed the door to another season of Curb. I think he wants to do another season of Curb, if he has a great idea for another season of Curb.
You were in works with Lisa Cholodenko to do a pilot for The Kids Are All Right. Is that still something that you’re working on?
LOMBARDO: Yes, we actually just got the draft in, a couple of weeks ago, and we’re continuing to develop it with her.
LOMBARDO: I feel remiss doing that. They are sitting down right now. They’ve pitched an idea that they have for this season, but Danny [McBride] and Jody [Hill] are just sitting down now. Things happen in the writing process. I’d be more comfortable talking to you [about that] at the January TCA.
What’s the timeline on when you have to make a decision on a fourth season of Treme?
LOMBARDO: Well, we are airing the show in the fall, behind Boardwalk Empire. Customarily, we would make a decision after the show premieres. We produce the show ourselves. At the same time, we are absolutely having conversations with David [Simon] now about, “Should there be a fourth season, and what would a fourth season look like?” There are certain exigencies of producing a show like that, in New Orleans, such as working around the hurricane schedule. So, normally, we would say it’s way premature, but we are talking to him now. Hopefully, we will have a decision, one way or another, so that we don’t miss shooting around the hurricane season, if we want to go forward.
PLEPLER: We are very proud of it. There is nobody who writes as Aaron [Sorkin] writes, and nobody who can resonate and create a conversation like Aaron can. There are seven million people a week, who are coming back to that show in a very competitive landscape, and who love it. And I think there is only one Aaron Sorkin, and we are very proud that he’s working with us and very proud that he’s going to do another season.
Can you talk about your decision to end the deal with Scott Rudin and how that will affect The Newsroom?
PLEPLER: Scott, who is a great producer, remains attached to The Newsroom. I think the question was just capacity and the realization that, right now, blessedly, we have a lot in line to do. He wanted to move on some things that perhaps we weren’t ready to move on, and so we felt that it would be right to give him that flexibility. I think it works well for him, and works well for us.
What is True Detective going to look like?
LOMBARDO: True Detective is light years away from The Wire and The Sopranos. True Detective is set in the South. It’s very much a character piece. In a genre that’s well trafficked, both in film and television, you read something like True Detective, and it blows your socks off. And then, there’s the cast, with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, and Cary Fukunaga directing, so it’s a no-brainer. But, we never thought about the other shows, quite honestly.
And that’s an anthology, of some sort?
LOMBARDO: Yes, the idea right now is that this particular narrative ends after the episodes are completed.
Have they told you what they would attempt in future seasons?
LOMBARDO: No, we haven’t had that conversation.