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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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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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Billionaire Trump-loving governor took $125,000 in bailouts meant for struggling farmers: report

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On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) received $125,000 in emergency stabilization payments for his farms, as part of the bailout program authorized by President Donald Trump to help farmers avoid losses due to the trade war with China.

Justice, a Trump-loving business magnate who briefly switched to the Democratic Party to run for governor of West Virginia and switched back to the GOP after the election, hardly fits the profile of a struggling farmer. He is worth $1.5 billion, and owns over 50 businesses, including a network of coal mines and the Greenbriar luxury resort, a popular gathering place for Republican officials.

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Here’s why Sondland’s testimony is devastating to Trump — whether he wants it to be or not

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Veteran Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald outlined in a thread that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered testimony to the House that was devastating for President Donald Trump whether Sondland wanted it to be or not.

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Trump’s EU ambassador is using the ‘Don Jr. defense’ of being too dumb to break the law: national security expert

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Gordon Sondland, the man whom President Donald Trump appointed to be his ambassador to the European Union, told congressional investigators on Thursday that he didn't understand that President Donald Trump might be holding up establishing direct contact with Ukraine's government unless the government agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

However, given that the president did ask him to run all Ukraine policy through attorney Rudy Giuliani, and given that Giuliani was already publicly boasting about trying to get Ukraine to probe Biden, Sondland's testimony raises the question of what he actually believed the president's intentions were in withholding aid to the country this past summer.

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