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TCA: Bill Maher Renewed, ‘Agency’ Alive & More News From HBO’s Executive Session

Nellie Andreeva

HBO has picked up talk show Real Time With Bill Maher for a 10th season, the pay cable network announced today at the top of its portion of the summer TCA press tour. Maher recently landed another Emmy nomination for best Variety, Music or Comedy Series, the 27th Emmy nom overall for his HBO series, which is still pursuing its first win. Maher made a brief appearance. “I’m here representing the Hollywood elite,” he said before introducing HBO toppers Co-President Richard Plepler and president of programming Michael Lombardo.

-Lombardo said that Luck, Michael Mann/David Milch’s race track drama, will premiere at the beginning of January and will take over the slot vacated by the departed HBO polygamy drama Big Love. Other premiere date news: Sunday, Sept. 25 (Boardwalk Empire), Oct. 2 (Hung, How to Make It in America), Monday, Oct. 10, (Bored to Death,Enlightened). Lombardo said that HBO brass are “nervously optimistic” about opening a new night of originals on Monday.

-The 2008 drama series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is not dead. Lombardo said that the network has just received a couple of new scripts for the Botswana-set drama and are considering continuing it as 2 or more standalone films.

-Plepler and Lombardo had no ETA on when the network’s popular HBO Go on-demand service will be available on one-time corporate sibling Time Warner Cable. “We wish we had the leverage and power to move TWC,” Plepler said, urging customers to put pressure on the cable company. “We’re working as fast as we can to finish the deal.”

-Plepler called the TV Academy’s recent decision to merge the best original movie and miniseries categories “disappointing for us.” “It prevents some writers, director, producers from being recognized but there is nothing we can do about it.” Added Lombardo, “They are 2 distinct genres. (The TV Academy has) separate categories for different kinds of reality shows and yet there is one combined for movies and miniseries. But it is what it is.” Read More »

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TCA: HBO Exec Session – Dustin Hoffman In First TV Series, Bruce Springsteen Docu Set For October, ‘Ladies Detective Agency’ Alive

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

Today was HBO’s executive session at TCA with co-president Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo. First, they confirmed that the fantasy drama series Game of Thrones will premiere in Spring 2011. “It’s a genre we’ve approached somewhat cautiously,” Lombardo admitted. “Nerither of us are particularly fans of the genre. But the two writers are so smart and so talented [that] it wasn’t the genre we responded to but the storytelling.” Added Plepler: “What it’s really about is power: who gets the kingdom, who gets the throne. You forget where you are very quickly and find yourself immersed in the storytelling.”

On other subjects:
– The pair confirmed that the The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is “not dead at all” and may “possibly” have two movies in the offing.

– David Milch’s new show about the horse racing world, Luck, begins shooting in October with Dustin Hoffman attached to star in his first TV series. “We weren’t in these seats when John From Cincinnati was developed,” Lombardo said. “David had such a clear vision for the [new] show. It’s a world he knows. There’s a confidence in the storytelling that’s enormously compelling. He came up with a great [pilot] script. There’s no question we’re taking the journey with him. It’s enormously accessible to non-horseracing people.”

– The new documentary on Bruce Springsteen licensed last week,  entitled The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, … Read More »

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