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The death of former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg features prominently in the NI newspaper review.
www.bbc.co.uk | 2/18/20

Niall Tóibín, famed Irish actor who starred alongside actors like Tom Cruise and Pierce Brosnan, died Wednesday after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. He was 89.

Born in Cork to native Irish speakers, Tóibín began his career in acting in the 1950s with the Radio Éireann Players and went on to appear in several Irish television dramas. In film, he played Tom Cruise’s father in “Far and Away” and as an islander alongside Pierce Brosnan in “The Nephew.” He was also known for his comic work, appearing in a production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” at the National Theatre in London.

In 2005, his handprints were added to the entrance of Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre, and in 2011, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Film & Television Academy.

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In a statement honoring Tóibín, Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins commended the actor’s commitment to choosing Irish language roles as well as English ones.

“The depth of interpretation that he brought to a wide variety of characters showed a very deep intellectual understanding and, above all, sensitivity to the nuance of Irish life,” he said. “While a huge audience will have adored his comic genius, his work included all the genres  stage, television, film and radio. To the latter he brought a distinctive voice which made him a much-loved interpreter of Irish life and its challenges.”

A documentary on Tóibín’s life and career is set to air on RTE in Ireland next month, with interviews from various actors including Brosnan and Jim Sheridan.

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www.thewrap.com | 11/14/19

The “Game of Thrones” fandom got good news and bad news this week in the form of one killed-off, untitled prequel pilot, starring Naomi Watts, and one straight-to-series order for spinoff “House of the Dragon.” And while we have many, many, many questions about the show that’s moving forward, which is centered on House Targaryen, we still have one burning query about the now-dead pilot: Why did HBO decide to scrap it?

And we’re sorry to say that even George R.R. Martin himself doesn’t know.

“As exciting as the series order is, I would be remiss if I did not also mention the bad news,” Martin wrote on his “Not a Blog” blog Wednesday. “HBO also announced that it has decided not to proceed with the other successor show we had in development, the one I kept calling THE LONG NIGHT (though it was, and remains, officially untitled), the pilot for which was shot in Northern Ireland last spring and summer. Set thousands of years before either GAME OF THRONES or HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and centered on the Starks and the White Walkers, the untitled pilot was written by Jane Goldman, directed by S.J. Clarkson, and starred Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson, and a splendid cast. It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her.”

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Prequel 'House of the Dragon' Ordered Straight to Series at HBO

“I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON,” the “A Song of Ice & Fire” author continued. “This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows. Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon. I’ve been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.”

As for the prequel that HBO is moving forward with, “House of the Dragon,” that series is co-created by Martin and “Colony” co-creator Ryan Condal. The 10-episode spinoff is based on Martin’s “Fire & Blood” book, and takes place 300 years before the events of the original “Game of Thrones,” which ended its eight-season run earlier this year.

Its story will center on House Targaryen, the family that Emila Clarke’s Daenerys belonged to, along with her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) and nephew Aegon Targaryen a.k.a. Jon Snow (Kit Harington).

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Pilot Starring Naomi Watts Scrapped by HBO

Miguel Sapochnik — who directed several fan-favorite episodes of “GoT,” such as “The Long Night,” “Battle of the Bastards” and “Hardhome” — and Condal will serve as co-showrunners on the series and executive produce alongside Martin and Vince Gerardis. Sapochnik will direct the pilot and additional episodes.

“Ryan Condal has already done a considerable amount of writing on HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, but a lot of work remains ahead of us,” Martin said. “There’s a writer’s room to be assembled, episodes to be broken down and scripted, a cast and crew to be assembled, budgets and production details to be worked out. As yet, we don’t even know where we will be shooting… though I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David & Dan used for GAME OF THRONES (Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain).”

Martin says he expects “to be involved in all of this to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES.”

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Wait, don’t you need to first finish writing …

“But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER,” he continued. “Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.”

Oh OK, good.

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www.thewrap.com | 10/31/19

“Game of Thrones” ended its eight-season run in May with what is arguably one of the most divisive series finales in the history of television. But long before that fanbase-breaking episode, HBO was already plotting to capitalize on the hugely popular fantasy epic by expanding its universe with potential spinoff shows.

On Tuesday, HBO’s quest to keep the franchise alive took a few steps back, as it scrapped the “GoT” prequel pilot that was the favored to next take the Iron Throne.

Ordered to pilot last year, the now-scrapped untitled project from George R.R. Martin and “Kingsman” screenwriter Jane Goldman was set thousands of years before the events of the original “Game of Thrones” series, in the era known as the Age of Heroes. The project, which wrapped production this summer, starred Naomi Watts.

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Pilot Starring Naomi Watts Scrapped by HBO

So where does the death of this potential series, which Martin continuously referred to as “The Long Night” (until HBO asked him to clarify that the project was officially untitled, that is), leave the future of “Game of Thrones” at HBO? Well, there are a couple candidates still in line to succeed the original show. But not as many as when this song of development stops and starts first began.

Originally, there were five “Thrones” spinoffs scripts in development at HBO, with Goldman’s being the only one put into production.

(Here’s where we interject to remind you that “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are not attached to any of the “Game of Thrones” prequel projects and that duo signed a massive overall deal with Netflix in August that encompasses both TV and film.)

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“The reason we did multiple scripts in the development process, [is we knew] out of five we’d be lucky to get one we’re excited about,” HBO programming chief Casey Bloys told reporters at the Television Critics Association in July 2018.

Jump ahead to May 2019, when Martin wrote on his “Not a Blog” blog that “three of them are still moving forward nicely.”

Then in July, Bloys told reporters at the 2019 TCA summer press tour that the the Watts-led pilot had wrapped production in Belfast, Ireland. At that time, the HBO exec said he was “very excited” by the footage he’d seen so far, but that the pay TV channel was still considering pilot orders for additional spinoffs.

“I think we have one or two more scripts,” he told TheWrap. “But we’re gonna see what happens with this one.”

Also Read: Second 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Nears Pilot Order at HBO

The next development came in September, when a second prequel project, this one based on the Targaryen family, was close to a pilot order at HBO. That series is from “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin and “Colony” co-creator Ryan Condal and would be set 300 years before the events of the HBO fantasy series.

House Targaryen is the family that Emila Clarke’s Daenerys belonged to, along with her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) and nephew Aegon Targaryen aka (SPOILER ALERT) Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington. That potential series would chronicle the downfall of the Targaryen House during a civil war, an event known as the Dance of Dragons.

“Many people have been emailing me since these stories hit the web, asking me to confirm or deny,” Martin wrote in a post on his “Not a Blog” blog, when news of that prequel project broke. “Sorry. Can’t. Well, not much, in any case. Yes, I can confirm that HBO put several GAMES OF THRONES successor shows in development at one point. There were four to start with.   Then five.   Then three. I’ve said all that before. Jane Goldman’s as yet untitled show, which I am still not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT, is one of those. The pilot on that one wrapped a month ago and has been in post-production.  I am expecting to see her first cut soon. (Last month in Belfast, I got a behind-the-scenes look at some of her sets, and they were spectacular). The show stirring up all the internet headlines right now is one of the others.   Also a prequel.   Set thousands of years after Jane’s show in the history of Westeros.  And yes, it is based on material from one of my books.”

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He added: “I do want to point out that ‘moving closer to a pilot order’ is NOT the same thing as ‘getting a pilot order.’  Would that it were. This is encouraging, this is exciting, but don’t buy the couch just yet. When HBO actually gives us a pilot order, you will hear me shouting it from the rooftops. A series order, and I’ll be shouting even louder.    But we’ll see.   Right now all the signs are good, but nothing is confirmed.”

At the time, Martin also shot down the suggestion that because Condal’s show was moving forward it meant Goldman’s would not be, saying “If that’s so, no one has told me. I don’t think it’s so.”

“The world of Ice & Fire is a WORLD, boys and girls,” he continued. “Huge continents, ten thousand years of history, cities, deserts, oceans, mysteries, triumphs and tragedies.  If there were indeed eight million stories in The Naked City in the 50s, surely there are eight billion stories to be told about Westeros, Essos, Sothoryos, and the lands beyond the Sunset Sea, south of Oz and north of Shangri-La… And in these days of a hundred networks, channels, and streaming services, I think television has plenty of room for two shows set in Westeros… or hell, maybe three or four… I still want to do SPEARCARRIERS, after all.”

So, Martin thinks there’s room for more than one spinoff series, but is there? With one scrapped, one close to a pilot order and no word on that third, it’s unclear what HBO wants from this potential franchise at this point. That said, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max media day is happening this afternoon in Los Angeles — we’ll keep you posted if any new “Game of Thrones” news emerges.

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www.thewrap.com | 10/29/19

August 31, 1997, was a typically warm day in Los Angeles. I remember arriving home in the late afternoon, my ears still ringing from the high decibel British Invasion music that shuddered by Ford Explorer. I opened the door and heard my wife crying. Having been brought up on the streets of Limerick, Ireland, she’s made of stronger stuff. But not this afternoon, and not today. I asked her what was wrong, and joined her on the sofa where her attention was riveted to the national news.

“They killed her.”

I shifted my attention to the television and gasped. Princess Diana, whose face greeted me every morning on china plates and cups in my wife’s china cabinet, was dead. She had a place of prominence in that hutch. Positioned in front of the Belleek china and Waterford crystal that was a testament to Ireland, my wife’s home – it was hard to look at her face now. We failed her. That porcelain smile framed in British filigree and finery was extinguished, like an animal whose life was taken for sport.

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Pursued like a fox on a hunt, the Mercedes she was riding in hit a support stanchion in a Parisian underpass. A life snuffed out. Two children motherless. A bereaved ex-husband who himself was mired in controversy. The public then began the bitter buffet of gorging themselves on gossip, innuendo and the shameful pursuit of dirt.

Nearly a generation later, we are pursuing her son. The hunt is on once again, and we hear the click-whine of automatic cameras, the grunts of sweaty paparazzi as they jockey for the best position and the discordant choir of the press gaggle who shouts out questions designed to illicit an emotional response, and if they’re lucky — tears.

Some call it the TMZ-ation of journalism. Or tabloid journalism. Or as George Harrison called it, The Devil’s Radio. Whatever the label, it fills a dark void of ugliness that somehow makes our lives in comparison seem palatable. I don’t need to know about Johnny Depp’s divorce. I don’t care about what religion Tom Cruise subscribes to. I don’t need the specifics of a young woman’s relationship with her new family as she takes on the mantle of royalty.

Neither do you, even though science may claim that I’m wrong.

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The brain is a wondrous organ that apparently releases gushes of dopamine when fed negative news of others. I remember that as a child, I’d start to giggle at hearing bad news. My parents would be shocked, and my mother, bless her, would explain it away as gallows humor. My father just thought I was a sick puppy.

There have been those who say that gossip fulfills an evolutionary, cultural and developmental arc that benefits society. According to Tania Lombrozo, a Princeton psychology professor, gossip emerges in young people in the form of tattling. You remember those kids who grew up to be narcotics agents, snitches or entertainment reporters? They lived to drop dimes. We have not evolved. The only thing that has evolved are the nature and severity of the antisocial aspects of gossip. People die because of it. Children take their lives because of it. And now we are transfixed as a young couple deals with it.

The recent ABC documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey” was a sad testament to the fortitude and compassion of the prince and his American wife as they ventured to Africa to bring awareness of the poverty and resilience of the African people. They had the world’s attention, and instead of focusing on the great work that is being done, the public tuned in to see them brought to the verge of tears as they tried to explain the dynamics of their family — dynamics that are part of nearly every family.

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I’ll never forget the image of Prince Harry walking the same route of his mother as she side-stepped hidden land mines in Angola in a time before the United Nations Mine Ban Treaty. There she was, unceremoniously elegant while advocating for the voiceless. She was brave, and who would have thought that what finally took her out was not an explosive or a sniper’s bullet, but the shrapnel of our obsession.

On that afternoon in 1997, her death crumbled my Irish wife who had bonded with a British princess over a bridge of empathy and tolerance — only to die on the curb in an alter of twisted German steel — a sacrifice to the God of Gossip, in a ritual that is being repeated today with her own son and his bride.

We are a shameful lot. No matter what the physiological reasons are, we must make a conscious effort to actively not care. Lives are at stake.

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www.thewrap.com | 10/29/19
Boris Johnson's "new deal" for Northern Ireland divides opinion and dominates Thursday's front pages.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/3/19

When ABC’s “Lost” premiered on Sept. 22, 2004, it was a risky investment and the most expensive television pilot ever made. For one, it shot on location in Hawaii complete with extremely realistic plane wreckage and explosions. But it soon turned into a cultural milestone that would forever change the face of television.

“Lost” was a “water cooler” show the likes of which we may never see again, from a time when audiences still gathered with friends and family on their sofas once a week in front of television sets to watch. Afterwards, they rushed to their desktop computers to post fan theories on the internet’s first chat rooms. It was a time before binge-watching, when “Previously on Lost” provided an essential recap of the most recent flashbacks, flashforwards and flash-sideways; mad-dashes through the jungle; encounters with the smoke monster; Dharma Initiative experiments; polar bears; questions like “What lies in the shadow of the statue?”; and travels through time.

All these years later, “Lost” and all of its mysteries inspire such intense nostalgia that its stars still have frequent encounters with die-hard fans. In honor of the show’s 15th anniversary this Sunday, nine of its cast members share their most amusing, startling and touching fan encounters.

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Interviews have been edited and condensed.

Maggie Grace (Shannon Rutherford): On the street, it’s good. Planes, less so.

Daniel Dae Kim (Jin-Soo Kwon): I remember we went to Los Angeles to do some kind of [appearance], and I remember getting on the plane as a cast from Hawaii, and people shifting uncomfortably in their seats and starting to whisper to one another. Some were whispering in an excited way, and others were whispering in a really kind of apprehensive way. And then when we got to Los Angeles to do this event, I saw people snaking around the block of the building outside to come see us speak. And I thought, “Wow, this is actually bigger than any of us thought it was.” And then afterwards — I’ll never forget this part — we were ushered out the back door of the building because there was too big a crowd gathered in the front. So as I was going out the back exit to my car that was waiting for me, I heard someone yell, “There he is!” The whole mass of people started running from the front to the back of the building. I honestly felt like, just for a second, I was one of The Beatles in “A Hard Day’s Night.” I ran into the car, and they surrounded the car and started rocking it back and forth. That’s when I knew that this was bigger than I’d anticipated. That was November of our first season.

Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond Hume): At the height of “Lost,” I have had incidents like that, where my family would gather around me and protect me. I think that must have happened to all of us. Probably more so people like Sawyer [Josh Holloway], but we all had a taste of it. I hardly ever left Hawaii. In Hawaii, no one bothered you much. It’s not the Hawaiian way.

Harold Perrineau (Michael Dawson): It wasn’t until I got back to the mainland that suddenly, when I was walking down the street, it was way different than it had been before. I’m walking down the street, and kids are screaming out of the car, “There’s Walt’s dad!” Like screaming at me! I was like, “Oh snap!” This is a whole different thing. This is next level. I didn’t realize that.

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Alan Dale (Charles Widmore): I’m always amazed at how warmly people approach the subject of “Lost.” I played this character in “Neighbours” in Australia — he was the nicest man in Australia — and in the street, people would call out smart-ass things and be unpleasant. But with Charles Widmore, people are very respectful. They expect me to be Charles and turn around and do something to them.

Ian Somerhalder (Boone Carlyle): It’s crazy, people still bring pictures of Boone to me, to conventions or outside hotel rooms for me to sign, and I look at it and I just go, “Wow, that was 15 years ago. I was 25 years old and now I’m 40.”

Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert): There was a whole thing with my character — as soon as it started airing, somebody called me the Maybelline man because they thought I had eyeliner on. I would have fans with a lot of questions about whether I was wearing eyeliner, so that was always very funny.

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke): I’ll walk down the street and hear, “Oh, Juliet!” I honestly have had the best experiences with it. There’s something about that show that has made people so completely lovely to me. There’s no grasping, there’s no weirdness. Just genuine appreciation. When I’m out and about in the world, and it probably happens about once or twice a day, it’s very, very sweet. It’s really kind of fun how people are a little taken aback and not sure what to say.

Terry O’Quinn (John Locke): I was in Ireland once, we were on a publicity trip for “Lost,” and I was in Galway walking home from the pub underneath this bridge. And there were a bunch of young guys, maybe five or six guys who were like, teenagers, under the bridge, drinking something from a bottle — some kind of poison. And I walked by, and one goes, [puts on Irish accent] “That’s John Locke! John Locke! The f— are you doing here?” And then they insisted that I drink, and of course I did. But I thought, “How amazing. Here I am in Ireland, these guys are teenagers, nothing like me. They’re totally down with ‘Lost.'” And I think that was one of those moments when I said, “Whoa, this is a pretty big deal.” They were very sweet. There were all F-bombs all over. “F—in’ John Locke! Oh, you gotta try this!'”

Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond Hume): I had a lot of people in supermarkets coming up to me saying how much the show affected them, helped them through their depression, saved their lives. You forget how much a show can mean to somebody. I’m more remembered for Desmond than anything. I’ve just started this new job, and the crew says, “Hey Desmond.”

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Maggie Grace (Shannon Rutherford): You feel like, “You’ve been in my living room for all these years.” I think “Lost” was that kind of show that you watched in a social way. You watched it with other people and talked about it. It brought people together.

Daniel Dae Kim (Jin-Soo Kwon): Two days ago, I was walking by a Japanese restaurant here in London, and a bunch of 12-year-old boys ran out of the restaurant and said, “Are you Jin?” And I was completely shocked, because they were not alive when the show premiered. And they started fanboying and asking me questions about my character in the show. They wanted to know about the ending. That’s the number one question these days. Really, they were so fanboying it didn’t matter what I said. It reminded me of the “Chris Farley Show” on “Saturday Night Live,” where he played a talk show host, but all he would do during the entire show was say, “Do you remember when you guys were in the sub, and the sub flooded, and your fingers touch and came apart?” And I would say, “Yeah, I do remember that.” And he would say, “That was cool.” That’s what these kids sounded like.

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke): I have a great one, actually. [Josh Holloway] was standing with his wife, who he’s nuts about, and we were at a party of some kind, some sort of a press thing. They’re all dressed up and adorable, and she’s standing next to him in her high heels and looking just hot and gorgeous. And this woman actually knocks her over — to the point where I almost had to catch her — to get to Josh. I turned to her, and I’m like, “Does this happen a lot?” And she’s like, “All the time.” I go, “Do you want me to say something?” She’s, “No, I got this.” And I’m, “OK!” [Laughs]. Women genuinely thought that [Josh] was theirs, and he handled it with a lot of grace. I’ve really never seen anything like it and probably never will again. Women absolutely hurled themselves at him, like to the point of being actually on his body. They would try to kiss him, and they would try to be near him, and he artfully evaded. He was very sweet. Matthew [Fox], just as many people were interested in talking to, but he has a little bit of something where people are like, “Well, I’m not not gonna throw myself at him.” [Laughs]. It’s cute.

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Ian Somerhalder (Boone Carlyle): The random fan encounters are really quite amazing, because people still run up to me on New York City streets. They’ll come up to me with gusto. People have such an incredible response to the ending of that show, too, because it meant so much to them. People run up to me and they just can’t believe it — and I often think about that.

Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert): I remember being at a baseball game and people yelling, “Who are the Others?” It would always revolve around the mysteries of the show.

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke): I’ve walked through an airport with Michael [Emerson] and with Jorge [Garcia] and one TSA person was like, “You naughty boy!” to Michael. And he goes, “Oh, man.” [Laughs]. Jorge, he can’t hide. I can kinda do my own thing and be a bit of a chameleon, but he’s just — people love him, and they feel like they know him. I’ll meet one or two people a day, but he has to meet something like 10 an hour. It’s overwhelming to me how loved he is. I was with [Evangeline Lily] about a month ago, and what I saw was, it’s just this complete disbelief that she’s standing right there. Their hands are shaking as they’re trying to get a photo. I’ve noticed a lot of speechlessness. People’s extreme nervousness around her is very touching — complete disbelief that she’s right there.

Daniel Dae Kim (Jin-Soo Kwon): My favorite bad joke that people give me all the time about “Lost” is, when I’m walking down the street, someone will come up to me and say, “Hey buddy. You lost?” [Laughs]. And each one of them thinks that they’re the first one to think of that. But I feel like, if it means something to people, I would never want to take that away from them. It meant something to me too.

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www.thewrap.com | 9/20/19

Acorn TV, AMC’s streaming service featuring British film and television programs, has passed one million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, the network has announced, calling it a “major milestone” in their direct-to-consumer strategy.

“Surpassing one million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada is a major milestone which underscores that subscribers love the trusted Acorn TV experience filled with highly entertaining and captivating original and exclusive entertainment,” AMC Networks’ President of Global Direct-to-Consumer Miguel Penella said in a statement.

Acorn TV launched in 2011, offering commercial-free TV shows from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, and other European countries. Acorn TV currently houses original and exclusive mystery and drama series like ITV’s long-running “Doc Martin” and “Manhunt.” Other titles on the service include “Agatha Raisin,” “London Kills” and BBC One’s “Line of Duty,” a police procedural in its fifth season created by Jed Mercurio, who is also behind the Emmy-nominated “Bodyguard” starring Richard Madden.

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In November 2018, AMC completed a $59 million acquisition of Acorn’s parent company RLJ Entertainment. In a statement during the closing of the deal, AMC Networks President and CEO Josh Sapan said the move was part of the company’s “direct-to-consumer” strategy as it and sister streamer UMC both neared one million subscribers.

Acorn TV is one of several AMC Network streamers dedicated to niche audiences. AMC Networks also runs the horror streamer Shudder, Sundance Now of the Sundance Channel and UMC, which focuses on black film and television.

“Acorn TV’s strong momentum, coupled with the growth of our other targeted SVOD services – Shudder, Sundance Now, and UMC – further underscores that the special interest SVOD market is growing and has vast potential, including some meaningful advantages over general interest SVOD. AMC Networks is just beginning to tap the potential universe for these services,” Penella said.

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www.thewrap.com | 9/19/19

Production has wrapped on HBO’s Naomi Watts-led “Game of Thrones” prequel pilot, which began shooting in Belfast, Ireland this summer, Casey Bloys said during the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.

The HBO programming boss also addressed the online petition that was started by fans asking the pay-TV channel to remake the final season of “GoT” with “competent writers” (a dig at showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) which he says “shows a lot of enthusiasm.”

“Look, I take all of the activity around the finale as — there are very, very few downsides to having a hugely popular show, but one I can think of is when you try to end it, many people have big opinions on how it should end,” Bloys told reporters. “I think that just comes with the territory.”

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“The petition, I think, shows a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the show, but it wasn’t something we seriously considered. I can’t imagine another network would, but who knows,” he added.

Ordered to pilot last year, the currently untitled project from George R.R. Martin and “Kingsman” screenwriter Jane Goldman is set thousands of years before the events of the original “Game of Thrones” series in the era known as the Age of Heroes.

Along with Watts, the pilot’s cast includes “Harry Potter” alum Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie (who will next appear in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars Episode IX”), Denise Gough (“Guerrilla,” “Angels in America”), Jamie Campbell Bower (“Twilight,” “Mortal Instruments”), Sheila Atim (“Harlots”), Ivanno Jeremiah (“Black Mirror”), Georgie Henley (“The Chronicles of Narnia”), Alex Sharp (“To the Bone”), Toby Regbo (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”), Marquis Rodriguez, John Simm, Richard McCabe, John Heffernan and Dixie Egerickx.

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Creators No Longer Attending HBO Series' Farewell Comic-Con Panel

According to HBO, the drama “chronicles the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend … it’s not the story we think we know.”

Goldman wrote the pilot from a story she developed alongside Martin. She will serve as showrunner and will executive produce alongside Martin, James Farrell, Jim Danger Gray, Vince Gerardis, Sara Lee Hess, and Daniel Zelman. S.J. Clarkson will direct the pilot and also executive produce. Chris Symes is co-executive producer.

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“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will receive the Founders Award at this year’s International Emmy Awards in November.

The Founders Award is given annually to those whose “creative accomplishments have contributed in some way to the quality of global television production.” The HBO fantasy epic has almost exclusively filmed aboard in locations Northern Ireland (mostly in Belfast), Croatia, Iceland and Morocco. The series airs in over 207 countries.

“The International Academy does us all a great honor. From cast to crew to locations, the ‘Game of Thrones’ effort was truly international, and this award rightly belongs to all the people who worked so hard for so many years to bring the show to life,” Benioff and Weiss said in a statement Monday.

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“David and D.B. are absolute game changers, visionary storytellers who have created, with their first foray into television, a record breaking global cultural phenomenon with an international following like no other,” Bruce L. Paisner, president & CEO, International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, added. “We look forward to honoring their extraordinary talent and the ‘Game of Thrones’ legacy, with our Founders Award.”

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The International Emmy Awards will be held Monday, Nov. 25, in New York City.

“Game of Thrones” is heading into its eighth and final season, which will premiere April 14. The series finale is slated for May 19.

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