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Field Narrows as ‘Game of Thrones’ Creators Benioff and Weiss Seek Overall Deal

As “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss shop an overall global deal around town, the field has narrowed to Netflix, Amazon and Disney, sources tell Variety.

Earlier chatter pointed to rival players such as Comcast-owned NBCUniversal and HBO parent WarnerMedia also jockeying for a chance to ink an agreement with the showrunners, one that would span film, television and other platforms.

But it now appears that the two streamers and Disney are the major contenders for the duo’s future efforts.

Benioff and Weiss have already formed ties to Disney, and are currently working on a lucrative piece of intellectual property, developing an untitled “Star Wars” movie that’s set to debut in theaters in 2022.

That will be the first of several new “Star Wars” films the pair have signed on to write and produce with Disney’s Lucasfilm. It is no doubt a time-consuming feat, and one likely to be a consideration for any studio mulling a pact with the creative pair, who will have their hands full for an indeterminate amount of time.

Sources tell Variety Apple was at one point interested in the pair’s business, but is no longer considered a major contender. Representatives for it and the other studios mentioned declined to comment.

Regardless of the divisive series finale, the final season of “Game of Thrones” earned a record 32 Emmy nominations last week, pushing up HBO’s total to 137 and helping the network to retake the lead over Netflix, which procured 117 noms this year. The show’s series finale brought in 19.3 million viewers.

Benioff and Weiss aren’t the only creators out looking to strike a massive new deal. J.J. Abrams is said to be nearing the finish line as WarnerMedia outpaces the pack in the race for his business. In recent years, Netflix has inked overall deals with Jenji Kohan, Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy and Kenya Barris. Amazon Studios has first-look deals with Jordan Peele, Nicole Kidman, John Krasinski, Barry Jenkins and Rachel Brosnahan, and has overall deals with creators including Neil Gaiman and Glenn Kessler.

Amazon has previously forged ties to other creatives in the “Game of Thrones” universe. Bryan Cogman, the writer and co-executive producer on “Game of Thrones” who worked closely alongside Benioff and Weiss, in September signed an overall deal with Amazon. He is currently consulting on the forthcoming “Lord of the Rings” series at the streamer.

HBO programming chief Casey Bloys told Variety at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday that the pair was among the best he’s worked with.

“I think wherever they end up, they’ll be lucky to have them,”  said Bloys. “They’re some of the best showrunners I’ve ever worked with, and in this talent marketplace, I think everybody should go and get whatever they can. Who knows how long this market will last, so everybody’s gotta go out and get paid.”

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