For the first time in years, HBO will completely sit out the annual pop culture confab.
In perhaps a sign of the Peak TV times, HBO is skipping this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The premium cable network has opted to completely sit out the July 18-22 pop culture confab. The decision means that there will be no panels for HBO hits Game of Thrones or Westworld.
“Due to production schedules and air dates for Game of Thrones and Westworld, these series will not be presented at San Diego Comic-Con this summer,” reps for HBO said in a statement Thursday. “HBO has a longstanding relationship with SDCC, and we are very grateful for the fans’ enthusiastic response over the years. We look forward to returning in the future.”
This marks the first time ever that Game of Thrones will skip its annual trip to San Diego Comic-Con, where it has appeared every year since its debut and has ranked among the most-anticipated panels of the massive marketing event. Westworld made its SDCC debut last year. Game of Thrones will return for its final season in 2019, while the Westworld season two finale airs June 24. The series has not yet resumed production for the previously announced third season.
HBO will also sit out SDCC on the marketing side as well, the Westworld and Game of Thrones interactive activations that were the breakout hits of last year’s event also absent this time.
That HBO would opt to bypass the massive event this year comes amid rapidly growing competition in the Peak TV era where scripted originals are expected to top 500 this year. Each year, more new and returning TV series stage panels with the hope of cutting through the clutter. To be sure, bringing the cast and creators of any TV series SDCC is an expensive undertaking and one that many outlets are carefully considering as the calendar presents more opportunities to promote new and returning programming. Smaller events provide better opportunities to cut through the cluttered landscape in a more financially feasible fashion.
Meanwhile, fellow premium cable network Starz has opted to focus on New York Comic-Con with Outlander and may also skip the San Diego event. Showtime, meanwhile, may return for another Twin Peaks panel featuring a roster of secondary characters. Syfy (Deadly Class, Nightflyers), BBC America (Doctor Who) and History (Project Blue Book) are among the networks who have revealed plans to present panels in San Diego. AMC is expected to bring panels for both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.
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