HBO is bringing more fire and blood.
The Warner Bros. Discovery–owned network announced Friday morning that it’s renewing “House of the Dragon” for a second season, just days after its “Game of Thrones” prequel series drew a record 9.986 million viewers across HBO and HBO Max for its premiere episode.
“We are beyond proud of what the entire ‘House of the Dragon’ team has accomplished with season one,” wrote Francesca Orsi, the executive vice president of HBO Programming, in a statement.
“Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see-TV,” added Orsi. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with season two.”
“House of the Dragon” was an expensive bet for HBO — especially after the original “Game of Thrones” series based on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels became a cultural sensation, only to fade away following a critically-panned final season that saw some fans demanding a reshoot of the last two seasons.
“Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” brings fire and blood (and dragons) back to Sunday nights on HBO.
Indeed, “Game of Thrones” lasted eight seasons, won 59 Emmy Awards and was HBO’s most popular show, averaging 44 million viewers across all platforms in its final season.
So HBO reportedly dropped $200 million on “House of the Dragon,” which follows the ruling, dragon-riding Targaryen family about 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.” Each of the 10 episodes cost a sum approaching $20 million, about double the budget of “Game of Thrones.” HBO also reportedly spent $100 million on a massive marketing push for “House of the Dragon,” making this its largest-ever marketing campaign.
The gamble appears to be paying off. While early reviews of “House of the Dragon’s” premiere were mixed, there was enough viewer demand for a return to the world of Westeros to crash the HBO Max app shortly after the premiere began at 9 p.m. on Aug. 21.
And this comes as the company plans to cut $3 billion in costs following the merger of AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc.
Warner Bros. Discovery
reported missing revenue expectations by $2 billion earlier in August, although it also added 1.7 million net streaming subscribers, despite the inflationary pinch continuing to be felt by many consumers.