Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Saturday, Jul. 30, 2016
HBO Exec Casey Bloys Fields Questions On Excessive Violence In Series
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis in "Game of Thrones" (photo by Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO)
  • BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP)
  • --

HBO took a bit of heat Saturday for its shows' sexualized violence toward women.

At the semi-annual Television Critics Association conference, HBO programming head Casey Bloys took questions about the violent storytelling of the network's hit series "Game of Thrones" and "The Night Of," which deals with the bloody murder of a beautiful young woman, as well as the upcoming fantasy thriller "Westworld."

Regarding "Thrones" and "Westworld," Bloys dismissed the notion that they normalize violence toward women in particular.

"The violence is pretty extreme on all fronts," he said. "I don't think it's isolated to women."

As for "Westworld," which depicts a fantasy theme park where visitors immerse themselves in an Old West environment while interacting with real-life robot "residents," Bloys noted that the point of the series is examining how the human characters treat, and mistreat, the robots: That shines a light on how humans are prone to treat their fellow humans, he said. "Westworld" premieres Oct. 2.

HBO announced that its weekly talk and humor hour, "Real Time with Bill Maher," has been renewed through 2018, its 16th season.

Reminded that HBO's portfolio of talk-show hosts includes Maher, John Oliver and Bill Simmons - and no women - Bloys was asked if the network had plans to launch a talk show with a female presiding.

No specific plans are in place, he said, "but it's something we aspire to."

Bloys, tapped as programming head earlier this year, said he plans to expand diversity in the drama slate, "and by diversity I mean not just ethnicity, but in scale, scope, location, tone," he said. "By diversity, I mean every sense of the word."

There were few details on Jon Stewart's upcoming multiplatform HBO venture, but Bloys disclosed that it will be an animated parody of a cable news network allowing Stewart to comment on daily breaking news in real time. It will be both a text-and-video digital portal as well as a TV series on the HBO channel.

It is expected to launch this fall, Bloys said.

Fans of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" recently rejoiced at news that its creator-writer-star Larry David would be filming a new season. Production begins this fall, with a planned 2017 premiere. The most recent new episodes aired in 2011 - the series' eighth season.

Meanwhile, Bloys offered a bit of hope for the long-discussed and long-delayed movie follow-up to "Deadwood," HBO's celebrated western series that aired for three seasons ending in 2006. He said the series' creator, David Milch, is currently writing the script. No plans beyond that were disclosed.

The presidential race didn't escape mention during the session. HBO has had great success with political-drama films "Recount" (about the 2000 presidential election) and "Game Change" (the 2008 John McCain-Sarah Palin candidacy). Bloys said a film about the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump faceoff was a distinct possibility.

"There's no plans right now, but it's obviously very interesting," Bloys said, adding that the two previous films' creative team - Jay Roach and Danny Strong - were on hand at the Republican National Convention, "just poking around."