“Games of Thrones” fans can expect to not get spoilers regarding the upcoming season of the award-winning TV show.
Unlike the past seasons, the press and Hollywood insiders will not receive any episodes in advance – either on DVD or via online screening.
“We’re not sending out press copies this year, anywhere in the world,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly. “There will be no copies for review.”
Not providing advance copies for the press for reviews is a first but not entirely surprising in the case of “Game of Thrones.”
Another reason that HBO is hell bent on keeping the upcoming season a secret is because season 6 is the first season where the show has largely surpassed the narrative published in author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, so for the first time even hardcore fans of the books have no idea what’s coming next.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that season six differs from past seasons in a major way, furthering the stories of Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and other characters before their stories advance in the pages of George R.R. Martin’s novel series.
Another factor affecting HBO’s decision is last year’s incident when HBO sent the first four hours of season 5 to its usual media distribution list, and the content leaked onto BitTorrent before the show’s premiere – spoiling nearly half the season for some viewers as plot points gained coverage online.
While HBO has since switched to a more secure online screening system for critics, the company has nonetheless opted against taking any chances with the intensely anticipated new season of its highest-rated series of all time.
“Game of Thrones” season 5 averaged 20.2 million viewers per episode in all forms of viewing in the US. The award winning show returns to HBO on April 24.