Game of Thrones Season 7 8
Courtesy of HBO

Game of Thrones” is still four months away from the Season 6 premiere, but HBO is already talking with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss about committing to a seventh and eighth season.

HBO programming president Michael Lombardo confirmed the discussions Thursday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., at the network’s reception, but he declined to elaborate.

The renewal discussions are no surprise, given the franchise’s importance to premium cabler. The “Game of Thrones” Season 5 finale delivered the show’s largest audience ever, setting a record with an average of 8.11 million viewers. The show’s worldwide fan base is crucial to HBO at a time when the service is expanding its distribution base with the standalone HBO Now broadband offering.

At the most recent Emmys, “Game of Thrones” stunned, breaking the record for most wins for a single show in one year — an impressive feat for a series in its fifth season. With 24 nominations, “GOT” walked away with 12 wins between the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series; Outstanding Writing for the aforementioned showrunners; Outstanding Directing for David Nutter; and Outstanding Supporting Actor for star Peter Dinklage.For the past years, the fantasy series has taken the title as the most-pirated TV series, emphasizing the fanatic appetite for “Thones.”

Today, also at TCA, the Season 6 premiere date — April 24 — was announced.

The ratings phenom has drawn a larger audience with each season. In 2015, it averaged a 4.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 9.5 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. Among all cable series, it ranked behind only “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead.”

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