In 2015, the first four episodes of Game Of Thrones season 5 were leaked online ahead of the show's premiere. This came as quite a blow to HBO, as well as makers of the show and fans worldwide, since several plot spoilers made their way online. So it comes as no surprise that HBO has decided to not give the press any advance episodes of the upcoming season 6.
"We're not sending out press copies this year, anywhere in the world," HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly. "There will be no copies for review."
The upcoming season 6 will be the first one where the show has largely surpassed the narrative published in author George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga, so for the first time even hardcore fans of the books have no idea what's coming next. All the more reason for studio execs to protect the content. Also, this season comes with the added anticipation of finally disclosing Jon Snow's fate.
GoT showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss advocated the no-screener strategy to protect season 6 content and, after some discussion, network executives agreed, reports EW.
"It's painful for Dan and David [when leaks happen]," Lombardo said. "When you have press copies, inevitably friends ask, 'Can I see your copy?' There are things that happen. We talked about the upsides and downsides. Some of the press are fans who might be disappointed, but they'll understand." Game of Thrones returns on HBO on 24 April.