HBO Chief Talks Whedon, Franco, Brand Dilution

Hbo Chief Talks Whedon Franco Brand Dilution

With the Television Critics Association summer press tour getting underway this week, HBO was one of the earliest out of the gate with its president Casey Bloys answering multiple questions and making several announcements in regards to the network.

On top of the already reported on “Deadwood” greenlight and “Game of Thrones” talk, it has been confirmed the Jennifer Garner and David Tennant-led comedy series “Camping” will premiere October 14th, the “Flight of the Conchords: Live at the London Apollo” special will screen October 6th, the Sesame Workshop animated series “Esme & Roy” will premiere August 18th, and the final season of “Veep” will air in the Spring next year.

Bloys fielded questions about the Time-Warner and AT&T deal, the so-called ‘TWATT merger’, which saw WarnerMedia chief John Stankey confirming reports yesterday for increased investment in HBO original programming and a big increase in the output of the network’s shows. Previous talk of this has raised concerns HBO will now pursue quantity over quality in its approach, but Bloys says that’s not the case:

“There are no plans to dilute the HBO brand in favor of increasing volume of programming… No-one has talked to us about diluting HBO programming and increasing the volume to a point where we lose creative control. You won’t see us do Love Boat reboots… We are not going to do anything that doesn’t feel like something we wouldn’t have done before; no one is asking us to sacrifice quality for volume.”

Bloys also took time to talk about the backlash to three things the network has done in recent times – the second season of “Westworld,” the hiring of Joss Whedon for the new series “The Nevers,” and the continuing on of “The Deuce” despite a report about James Franco’s alleged sexually inappropriate and exploitative behavior. In regards to “Westworld,” Bloys ultimately dismissed the talk saying:

“I wouldn’t agree that the backlash was widespread. The people who love it (the series) really love it, even the people who dislike it feel the need to discuss it and talk about it, and let you know they dislike it, and debate. And for a show to arouse that kind of feeling, that’s what we want. It’s not for casual viewers. It requires your attention. Jonah and Lisa like to challenge their viewers and many feel rewarded by that. It’s a unique show and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Bloys says the network and everyone involved in “The Deuce” felt comfortable with a second season of that show and they conducted interviews and investigations into Franco before reaching their decision to continue. As for Whedon, Bloys declined to comment saying: “I’m not going to get into Joss Whedon and his marriage and his ex-wife and what went on in their marriage.”

Source: TV Line