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'Game of Thrones,' 'Silicon Valley,' 'Veep' renewed at HBO

Variety

HBO has renewed "Game of Thrones," "Silicon Valley" and "Veep" for 2017, the network announced Thursday. The three shows are set to premiere their new seasons Sunday.

The network did not announce the number of episodes for the next season of "Game of Thrones," which would be its seventh. Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently told Variety that they would like to see the show's final two seasons be shortened from the normal 10 episodes -- six episodes for season seven and seven episodes for season eight.

"I think we're down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We're heading into the final lap," said Benioff. "That's the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that's what we're looking at."

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HBO has signaled that "Game of Thrones" will not likely extend past season eight, per Weiss and Benioff's wishes.

Season six of "Game of Thrones" is set to premiere Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO. The season three premiere of "Silicon Valley" will follow at 10 p.m., ahead of the "Veep" season five debut at 10:30 p.m.

"Game of Thrones" has been HBO's most watched and most highly decorated current drama. Last year it broke the record for most Primetime Emmy Awards for a television show in a single year with 12.

As the series winds down, HBO has no other drama in place that approaches the wide popular appeal of "Game of Thrones." Showrunner Terence Winter was dismissed earlier this month from "Vinyl," the lavish Martin Scorsese-produced '70s period piece about the music business, an indicator of creative problems on the low-rated show. Another big-swing drama, sci-fi series "Westworld," halted production in January on its forthcoming first season.

"We do believe that every show we put on needs to aspire to its own greatness," HBO programming president Michael Lombardo recently told Variety. "It's nice to have a show [like 'Game of Thrones'] that hits this kind of zeitgeist of popular culture. At the same time, it's really just one piece of a bigger tapestry for us, and I never lose sight of that."

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