HBO’s Orsi Talks “Thrones,” “Euphoria” & More


As part of a wide-ranging interview with Deadline about the current state of HBO Originals, network veteran and HBO’s head of drama Francesca Orsi spoke about where things stand with their various shows in relation to the ongoing writer’s strike.

Orsi is set to serve in her position as EVP, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films through 2026 according to her contract and tells the outlet that should the strike last six to nine months, then serious scheduling shake-ups will have to take place.

For now though they’re dealing with more short term issues and how it impacts their line-up. First up, a third season of “Euphoria” isn’t looking likely until 2025 – over three years after the second season’s debut in January 2022. That follows on from a two-and-a-half-year pandemic-related gap between the first and second seasons.

Part of the third season delay is due to creator Sam Levinson’s commitments to Abel ‘formerly known as The Weeknd’ Tesfaye’s “The Idol” series which is about to launch. Orsi says:

“Euphoria is one of those that we had begun writing in tandem with post-production on Idol but at this point, we don’t have countless scripts. We can’t start shooting, so the delivery of that show – ideally in 2025 – will be determined on when we can pick back up with Sam, who at this point is all pencils down and just finishing post on Idol.”

Filming on the second season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon” is continuing in the UK ahead of a Summer 2024 premiere – showrunner Ryan Condal having completed the scripts for all eight episodes prior to the strike. Orsi says Condal is following all the rules and adds:

If there is anything that needs to be rewritten or reshot, we’ll handle that after the strike, and we’ll put the resources behind revising what we need to do and reshooting what we need to do if we’ve made any mistakes along the way.”

She also says that Condal and author George R.R. Martin will meet after the strike to sort out how many seasons the show will require with Orsi saying: “I don’t think from where I sit at this point will be any less than four. But could be more. We’ll see.”

The next ‘Thrones’ spin-off, “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight,” has shut down its writers room as has the second season of “The Last of Us” and third season of “The White Lotus”.

‘Hedge Knight’ is a prequel centered on the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall and a young Aegon V Targaryen. Orsi says this series will have a less VFX-heavy and smaller scale than either ‘Thrones’ or ‘Dragon’ to avoid direct competition with it.

By going that way, the plan is to produce three seasons with the intent of releasing them in a more consistent and quick fashion as opposed to something like ‘Dragon’ due to its larger scale requiring up to two years of production per season.

Orsi shot down any talk of “Succession” spin-offs, saying there’s no chance of either a fifth season or any character-centric spin-offs. She adds creator Jesse Armstrong is more likely to do something new and original for the network rather than anything more “Succession” related.

In terms of other series – the “Parasite” adaptation is still stuck in early development, and the fate of shows like “Perry Mason,” “Winning Time” and “The Gilded Age” are undecided and are largely coming down to cost-to-viewership discussion.

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