GAMES OF THRONES - Season 6 teaser poster | ©2016 HBO

GAMES OF THRONES – Season 6 teaser poster | ©2016 HBO

HBO’s GAME OF THRONES begins is eagerly-awaited sixth season Sunday, April 24. The series is adapted from George R.R. Martin’s novel saga, but this year’s TV episodes extend beyond the events of the last published book. It’s been reported that executive producers/adapters David Benioff and D.B. (Daniel) Weiss want to do another thirteen episodes, over two seasons, after this year. We caught up with HBO President of Programming Michael Lombardo to talk about this and more.

ASSIGNMENT X: How many more seasons of GAME OF THRONES would you like to do?

MICHAEL LOMBARDO: I would like to be doing them obviously forever, as both a fan and as an executive at HBO, but I think right now, where we are is, after this coming season, I think we see at least another two.

AX: Is it causing problems or good things for you that this season is coming out ahead of the next book?

LOMBARDO: I don’t think about that that much. My experience with this show has always been through David and Dan, and after collaborating with George, the show’s stories continue to be rich. To me, it feels as organic, strong, powerful, textured as any season, and in fact, more so. So there’s no problem. I mean, I think Dan and Dave have made that leap awhile ago, in terms of mentally and emotionally, and I think they’re in a groove with these characters and these stories at this point.

AX: You’re also have the Seventies rock music drama VINYL, now renewed for a second season, with executive producers Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger. Is this the second scripted project HBO has done with Martin Scorsese, after BOARDWALK EMPIRE?

LOMBARDO: He’s done more documentaries with us. This is the second scripted project he’s done. [As documentaries], he did Rolling Stones, he did George Harrison, we did a couple of other things about the New York Times Book Review. We’ve done a few smaller ones with him as well.

AX: So is HBO’s relationship with Martin Scorsese at this point, he calls you if he wants to do something, or do you just call him periodically and say, “You have anything you want to talk to us about?”

LOMBARDO: We’re in a continuous conversation with him. We have a number of things in development with him. He is somebody, when he’s directing, he burrows into that, and then, when he emerges, he’ll have a list of things he wants to talk about, and it’s a really fruitful, organic, healthy relationship, so I hope to be in business with him as long as he’s interested in telling stories.

AX: Are there other filmmakers that HBO has that relationship with?

LOMBARDO: Yes. Again, I don’t like to [name names for fear of excluding someone], but we’re developing a very successful, multi-pronged relationship with Steven Soderbergh. He’s done films for us, he’s done a series for us, he’s doing another movie for us, we’re talking about other series. He’s someone we’ve found a comfort level with in terms of commitment to good writing and executing, ultimately with HBO level, but with television budgets and an economy of storytelling that I think works on a small screen. There are a couple of others, but those are the two that stick out to me.

AX: Are you having fun working with Mick Jagger?

LOMBARDO: I’ll tell you – he is really smart, he is really on top of things. This is a man who, there is no surprise that he’s had the longevity he’s had as an artist he’s had, and every once in awhile, I forget that he’s Mick Jagger. We had dinner with him one night in New York, and all of a sudden, you’re aware of people looking at him, and you’re like, “Oh, right. This is one of the quintessential rock stars of all time.” It’s easy to forget that, because he’s incredibly bright, incredibly well-read, he can talk about television, cinema, scripts, with great fluency. So yes, I’m having fun. Every once in awhile, I pinch myself and I go, “It’s Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese. Pretty cool.”

AX: What are you most looking forward to this year?

LOMBARDO: My mind’s already thinking about 2017. There are a couple of things. We have a show coming on later in the year that’s written and directed by Steve Zaillian, starring John Turturro, it’s quiet but unbelievably powerful. We have two half-hours, DIVORCE starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church, and VICE PRINCIPALS with Danny McBride, that are both each in their own way really distinctive, fresh, powerful shows that I’m excited about.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about HBO right now?

LOMBARDO: Exciting things coming. Keep watching.

This interview was conducted during HBO’s portion of the most recent Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena California.

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “Mother’s Mercy” – Season Finale

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “The Dance of the Dragons”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “Hardhome”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “The Gift”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “Kill the Boy”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “The Sons of the Harpy”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “High Sparrow”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “The House of Black and White”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 – “The Wars to Come”  – Season Premiere 

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “The Children”  – Season Finale

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “The Watchers on the Wall”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “The Mountain and the Viper”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “Mockingbird”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “First of His Name”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “Oathkeeper”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “Breaker of Chains”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “The Lion and the Rose”

Related: TV Review: GAME OF THRONES – Season 4 – “Two Swords” – SEASON PREMIERE

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Article: Exclusive Interview with Michael Lombardo on Season 6 of  GAME OF THRONES

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