‘Game of Thrones’ Spinoff and ‘Big Little Lies’ Draining HBO’s Budget
HBO has a vast bottom line to pump millions into Game of Thrones, but even they have limits. Company heads admit that pricey purchases like a Game of Thrones spinoff or even Big Little Lies Season 2 have burned serious holes in their pockets.
Keep in mind that HBO has yet to officially move forward with any of the five developing Game of Thrones prequel spinoffs, but that didn’t stop senior VP of drama Francesca Orsi from commenting on the overall budget crunch during the INTV conference in Jerusalem (h/t Vulture). An unplanned second season of Big Little Lies enabled Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman to negotiate significant raises, and Orsi used a spectacularly poor choice of words to suggest that “from a budget standpoint going into season two of Big Little Lies without any options in place we’ve been … um … short of raped.” Don’t worry – Orsi already apologized to TVLine:
Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words. We are extremely proud of Big Little Lies and excited for the second season.
Programming boss Casey Bloys added that “more money doesn’t always equal better but in some cases the scope of ideas do require it,” before pivoting to Game of Thrones. It seems the network has some uncertainty where to budget the new spinoff series, given the skyrocketed $15 million-per-episode its mothership required for Season 8 and a tendency for costs to escalate over time. Said Orsi:
If we do take off on one of these Game of Thrones spinoffs, where do we start? We can’t obviously start with the budget of season eight but would it be a Game of Thrones season three budget?
Given that no plot details of the five potential spinoffs have leaked, we can’t say whether production might theoretically require more money. The early Game of Thrones seasons weren’t shy about cutting costs here and there, but prequels face perhaps greater challenge to hold fan interest. As for Big Little Lies, well, the cast has since added more than a few awards to their price tags, and that money definitely didn’t go to Orsi’s sensitivity training.
Stay tuned for any further announcements on the Game of Thrones spinoffs, as well as HBO’s impending yard sale.
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