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The curtain came down on an era for HBO Wednesday night as it hosted a massive final season premiere event for “Game of Thrones.”
The screening of the first of the show’s last six episodes was a spectacle unto itself. Radio City Music Hall was packed with industryites and celebrities who are far removed from the Seven Kingdoms. The after-party at Ziegfeld Ballroom was decked out with all manner of fiery motifs evoking the show’s blend of barbarism, beauty and warrior spirits.
Mood - Army - HBO - WarnerMedia - Executives
The mood among many in the small army of HBO and WarnerMedia executives on hand for the “Thrones” sendoff was as anxious as those who are in the hunt for the Iron Throne. The beginning of the end of “Thrones” has coincided with a major shakeup in the management of HBO under its new parent company AT&T.
“I don’t know if I’m OK,” said a longtime HBO executive who was asked that question more than once by guests on Wednesday. “Ask me in a few months.”
Feeling - Employees - Fact - HBO - New
Compounding the unsettled feeling for many employees is the fact that HBO’s New York headquarters will relocate in a few weeks from its longtime home in Bryant Park to WarnerMedia’s new digs in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. For the first time in years, HBO will be housed within in the corporate offices of its parent company rather than in a separate outpost. It’s a prudent financial move but one that symbolizes a loss of autonomy.
The flood of praise that flowed from those who spoke on stage at Radio City reinforced the rich legacy of the previous regime, which ended when Richard Plepler resigned Feb. 28 as chairman-CEO after 27 years with the brand. Five days later, NBC and Showtime alum Bob Greenblatt was named chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, overseeing HBO, TNT, TBS and WarnerMedia’s nascent streaming service.
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