Game of Thrones will probably return at least a little later than you expect.
On Thursday, HBO announced the February premiere dates for Martin Scorsese’s ’70s-set record label drama Vinyl, along with the return of comedies Girls and Togetherness. Vinyl starts Sunday, Feb. 14 with a two-hour opening, and the comedies launch a week later.
What do those series have to do with Thrones? Quite possibly everthing. It’s the TV scheduling domino effect!
HBO usually airs its original programming for up to two hours on one night a week (Sunday), and Thrones tends to start after the network’s late-winter shows conclude – usually very late March or early April (last year Thrones returned April 6).
No premiere date for Thrones has yet been announced. But given that the winter programs have 10 episodes each, Thrones couldn’t return in early April, or even mid-April,even if all three shows ran for 10 weeks straight.
So we’re looking at late April at the very earliest. In theory, the show could return April 17 if it was paired with the winter comedies for two weeks, but only if HBO decided to no longer air Thrones with fellow Emmy favorites Silicon Valley and Veep for the start of its run – something the network has done the past two years.
It’s more likely HBO will want its spring drama and comedies in sync, and use its premieres to cross promote each other like usual.
A later premiere would also have the effect of pushing the Thrones finale deeper into summer than usual.
So all of us desperately wondering what’s going on at Castle Black are probably going to have to wait a little longer. Knowing Thrones, which is coming off sweeping the Emmys this year, it will be worth the wait.