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Final ‘Game of Thrones’ season to air in first half of 2019

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HBO will debut the final season of its international hit “Game of Thrones” in the first half of next year and it aims to start production on a prequel in 2019, a network executive said on Wednesday.

Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, speaking at a Television Critics Association event, declined to provide details on the eighth and final “Game of Thrones” season or to provide a more specific premiere date.

The Emmy-winning medieval fantasy series is HBO’s biggest hit ever with some 30 million viewers in the United States and an army of devoted fans worldwide.

HBO, a unit of AT&T Inc, also is in the process of searching for a director and cast for a “Game of Thrones” prequel, Bloys said in response to questions. He said he hopes the prequel pilot will begin filming next year.

The network announced in June that it had ordered the pilot and would proceed with a full series if the pilot goes well.

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The as yet untitled prequel will take place thousands of years before the events of “Game of Thrones.” It was created by British screenwriter Jane Goldman with author George R.R. Martin, whose novel series “A Song of Ice and Fire” is the basis for the “Game of Thrones” television series.

It will chronicle “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,” and look at the secrets of the history of the warring families in the fictional kingdom of Westeros, the network has said.

HBO considered five different scripts before settling on the approach for the prequel.

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“The reason we did multiple scripts is out of five, we’d be lucky to get one we are very excited about,” Bloys said.

The remaining four scripts are either dead or still in the works, he said.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Susan Thomas


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Nicolle Wallace explains Trump’s racist attacks are covering his cozy relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Michael Cohen scandal

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MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace began her Wednesday show saying that President Donald Trump has made it official by making his brand one of "racism." But it prompted her to wonder if his racist attacks against four congresswomen of color could be more about deflecting from other scandals.

Wednesday morning, MSNBC released a video of Trump partying with alleged child molester and rapist Jeffrey Epstein. Trump is seen groping women and slapping their posterior. The first round of Epstein's alleged crimes were downgraded by Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and he was given 13 months in a county jail for just 8 hours, six days a week.

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Trump wasn’t the first president to confront the Supreme Court – and back down

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A key presidential election is approaching. The U.S. Supreme Court hears a case with powerful political implications. The court rules, but the populist president doesn’t care. Our national commitments – to the Constitution, to morality, to the rule of law – seem at risk.Then, the president backs down. The nation survives.

This might be the story of President Trump’s short-lived threat to get a citizenship question on the census in defiance of the Supreme Court. Instead, it’s the story of President Andrew Jackson and Worcester v. Georgia, decided in 1832.

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Fatal drug overdoses drop in US for first time in decades

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Fatal drug overdoses in the US declined by 5.1 percent in 2018, according to preliminary official data released Wednesday, the first drop in two decades.

The trend was driven by a steep decline in deaths linked to prescription painkillers.

"The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America's united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, though he cautioned the epidemic would not be cured overnight.

The total number of estimated deaths dropped to 68,557 in 2018 against 72,224 the year before, according to the figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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