HBO has announced that its massively popular Game of Thrones will now have a companion series, titled After the Thrones. The whole thing is spearheaded by Bill Simmons, who signed a deal with the network after parting ways with ESPN last year. But before you break out the snark you usually reserve for other recap shows like The Talking Dead, let’s take note of the talent involved.
The news was reported by Variety, who also note that After the Thrones will be the first official project Simmons has launched for HBO since joining the fold last year. If all goes according to plan, Simmons will also host a weekly talk show dedicated to the world of sports that will launch later in 2016.
Simmons’ former home, the late, great Grantland, blended sports reporting with top-notch pop culture journalism, and it looks like he’ll continue to cater to all possible audiences during his tenure at HBO. Most importantly, he’s brought a few familiar faces along for this particular venture. After the Thrones will be hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, former writers for Grantland who are also attached to Simmons’ new site, The Ringer. Greenwald and Ryan hosted the wonderful Watch the Thrones podcast (and Greenwald’s weekly recaps/reviews were among the best on the internet), so they’re perfect for this kind of gig. With them at the helm, After the Thrones may very well be a show about insightful discussion instead of puff piece interviews with the cast.
However, some of their best conversations and observations occurred when they were critical of Game of Thrones, which makes me wonder if HBO will keep Greenwald and Ryan on a leash or if they’ll just let them do what they do best. Hopefully, it’s the latter. After all, no one can really diminish the popularity of this series and just letting these two honestly talk about the show in the way they see fit could make for seriously compelling viewing.
The first episode of After the Thrones will premiere on April 25, 2016, the day after the premiere of Game of Thrones season 6. It will be available on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand. If there are plans for it to actually air on the network, they have not been revealed quite yet. If you haven’t caught it yet, you can watch the trailer for the new season: