Good news, Game of Thrones Fans: HBO has finally confirmed the fate of Jon Snow… will be revealed when the show returns for its sixth season on Sunday, April 24. Admit it, you did a double-take just now.
The ten-episode season kicks off at 9 PM and will for the first time consist exclusively of material not actually adapted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. While Martin has provided executive producers David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger, and Bernadette Caulfield with a rough outline of plot points and character arcs, including where his story will eventually end up, he announced just after the new year that he was unable to complete the next installment, “The Winds Of Winter,” far enough in advance for his publishers to get the book out before the show returns.
An adaptation outpacing the source material is an almost unprecedented situation, but it’s unlikely to matter to stalwart fans. The last season, like the book from which it was adapted, ended on a huge cliffhanger with Jon Snow, a fan favorite and in season five one of the three main characters, apparently dead following an assassination attempt. The showrunners, and Jon Snow actor Kit Harrington have since insisted that Snow is, really and finally, dead, but Harrington is still listed among the main cast and has been photographed on set, in costume, several times since.
The new season stars Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Diana Rigg, Natalie Dormer, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner. Though in what capacity and for how long, given the copious bloodshed and murder of beloved characters the show is known for, is anyone’s guess.
Game Of Thrones returns as part of a robust late spring/early summer Sunday night schedule for HBO. In addition to the hit swords and sorcery show, HBO’s comedies Silicon Valley and Veep kick off their news seasons the same night. The third season of Silicon Valley airs from 10:00 to 10:30, and stars Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener, Amanda Crew, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer and Jimmy O. Yang. Mike Judge, Alec Berg, Michael Rotenberg and Tom Lassally are executive producing.
Veep returns for its fifth season following huge wins at the 67th Prime Time Emmys last year, where it picked up five statuettes including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Tony Hale). The new season sees the titular main character at a crossroads, having seen her dreams of being elected president outright seemingly dashed after a constitutionally unprecedented electoral tie appears to guarantee that her popular Vice Presidential running mate will end up President instead.
Season five also markes a crossroads behind the scenes, as it’s the first without series creator Armando Iannucci, who stepped down as showrunner after the conclusion of season four. David Mandel has taken over showrunning duties for season five. But otherwise things remain intact, as Julia Louis-Dreyfus returns as former Vice President Selina Meyer, along with Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy C. Simons, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole, Sam Richardson and Hugh Laurie. Dave Mandel, Frank Rich, Chris Godsick, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lew Morton executive produce.
HBO also announced that Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a live-taped presentation of the Tony, Grammy, and Emmy winning musical starring Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday, will air March 12. The special was recorded in front of a live audience at Cafe Brasil in New Orleans and features a host of Holiday’s classic songs. McDonald became Broadway’s most decorated star when she received her sixth Tony award for the role in 2014.
Finally, HBO confirmed the air dates for its two upcoming telefilms. Confirmation, detailing the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will debut on HBO in April at a date TBD. It stars Kerri Washington professor and attorney Anita Hill, who came forward with allegations that Thomas had sexually harassed her when he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Wendell Pierce portrays Thomas, and they’re joined by Jeffrey Wright, Eric Stonestreet, Greg Kinnear, and Jennifer Hudson, along with Dylan Baker, Erika Christensen, Kimberly Elise, Malcolm Gets, Grace Gummer, Bill Irwin, Zoe Lister-Jones, Peter McRobbie, Treat Williams, and Alison Wright. Dope helmer Rick Famuyiwa directs from a script by Susannah Grant.
All The Way, an adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway play, will debut in May on a date TBD. The story looks at Lyndon Johnson’s first year as president and stars Bryan Cranston as LBJ, along with Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo, Bradley Whitford, and Frank Langella. Jay Roach directs from a script by Robert Schenkkan based on Schenkkan’s play.