HBO chief: Game Of Thrones could end after three more seasons
Game Of Thrones fans, brace yourselves: The fantasy saga's end is perhaps just a few years away.
HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo says the drama series' producers are leaning towards three more seasons after the just-concluded series five.
"I'm always hoping they're going to change their minds, but I think that's what we're looking at right now," Mr Lombardo told a Television Critics Association meeting in Beverly Hills.
Asked about the possibility of a prequel series, Mr Lombardo said he believed there was "enormous story material" to be mined for such a project. But the focus now of showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss was season six of Game Of Thrones, he said, which is in production for 2016.
The series came under fire this year for a rape scene involving a bride's assault by her husband on their wedding night.
Mr Lombardo, noting that the drama has included violence as a thread since it started, said the producers were careful about not overstepping boundaries while remaining true to the storytelling.
"I support them fully artistically," he said.
Voters in the TV academy were not swayed by the controversy, making Game Of Thrones the most-nominated series last month. It received 24 nods for the September awards, including best drama series.
Mr Lombardo was asked if the popular character of Jon Snow, who appeared to die last season, was actually a goner.
"Dead is dead is dead," he said, adding, "everything I've seen, heard and read" Snow is dead.