In sad news for the media and critics who enjoy receiving episodes ahead of time so they can review and begin writing on new seasons of shows, HBO announced this week that they will not be releasing any screeners for ‘Game of Thrones‘ Season 6 before the show airs. After the debacle of last year where they released the first four episodes of the season and they ended up on BitTorrent, few can blame the network for being cautious, especially when the world is anxiously awaiting news of whether or not beloved character Jon Snow will be returning to life in the new season. The whole policy of sending out screeners is based on a need to build up hype and drive viewership for a series, which of course ‘Game of Thrones’ is clearly not in need of, especially with the massive audience it pulled in last season. And with everyone waiting on the Jon Snow verdict, it is doubtful that the network will not have a big night when the show returns in April.
According to HBO programming president Michael Lombardo in a recent interview with EW:
“We’re not sending out press copies this year, anywhere in the world. There will be no copies for review. It’s painful for Dan and David [when leaks happen]. When you have press copies, inevitably friends ask, ‘Can I see your copy?’ There are things that happen. We talked about the upsides and downsides. Some of the press are fans who might be disappointed, but they’ll understand.”
Of course, many critics are saying that if the show does not have a huge spoiler in the first episode, the whole thing is moot anyways, but it is up to the show to release those screeners if they want to. And knowing ‘Game of Thrones,’ there’s a good change the whole Jon Snow issue will not be resolved immediately anyway, so they are probably hoping to keep stringing viewers along as they wait for that answer, and that would clearly not work if Season 6 episodes leaked early and revealed the show is not dealing with it just yet.
What are your thoughts on the secrecy behind ‘Game of Thrones’ this season? Do you agree with their decision? Sound off in the comments below!