As Game Of Thrones films its sixth season, speculation continues about the end of the hit fantasy drama. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had been quoted as saying that they’d envisioned the series to run for seven seasons. “Seven seasons and out was never the onversation,” said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming, in his first solo executive session today at TCA. “The question is how much beyond (seven seasons) it will go.”

game of thrones season 5 finale jon snow 2“David and Dan are feeling there’s probably two more years after Season 6, that’s what we’re looking at right now. We hope that they would change their mind, but that’s how they are feeling now.”

Would HBO consider extending the franchise with a prequel series? “We would be open to anything [Benioff and Weiss] want to do, there is enormous amount of storytelling in that world,” Lombardo said. But at that point, “the focus is on figuring out the next few years of the show.”

Lombardo also was asked to address the hbologocontroversy over graphic content on the show, including much discussed rape scenes. “This show has had violence as part of its many threads from Episode 1,” he said, adding that “there are no two showrunners who are more careful not to overstep the line (than Benioff and Weiss)”.

Lombardo also put an end to the rampant speculation that Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who died in the Season 5 finale, may in fact not be dead.

“Dead is dead as dead as dead. He be dead. Yes. From everything I’ve seen, heard, read, Jon Snow is indeed dead,” he said.