HBO tees up 'House of the Dragon' season 2 after series premiere success

Following a smash hit series premiere showing last week, HBO has already renewed “House of the Dragon” for a second season.

Warner Bros. Discovery announced Friday – less than a week after the first episode of season one of the series debuted - that a second season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel spin-off is coming. The “House of Dragons” series is focused on the story of House Targaryen, based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood,” and set 200 years before the inaugural Game of Thrones series events.

The early renewal announcement comes fresh off the heels of the series’ stellar viewership for the first episode, which aired August 21. It garnered the largest audience for any new original series in HBO history with 10 million U.S. viewers across linear and streaming. Warner Bros. Discovery said Friday that the first episode has now been seen by over 20 million viewers across linear, on demand, and HBO Max platforms in the U.S., based on a combination of Nielsen and first-party data.

 “We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one. Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see-TV,” said Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO Programming, in a statement. “A huge thank you to George, Ryan, and Miguel for leading us on this journey. We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with season two.”

Starring in the “House of the Dragon” series is Paddy Considine, along with Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans.

HBO promoted the series ahead of launch with other streaming platforms, such as Roku. Before the first  episode, Roku added a home menu hub for the show as part of a promo collaboration with HBO Max.

The success of “House of the Dragon” comes as Warner Bros. Discovery is working to reduce costs by $3 billion following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. As part of those efforts the company recently removed 36 series and movies from the HBO Max streaming platform.

According to the Los Angeles Times, by cutting series and films from HBO Max, the company anticipates saving $100 million annually. Next year WBD expects to launch a new service that combines the best product features and content of HBO Max and Discovery+ under one platform.

Still, media companies are betting on pulling in viewers with big name franchises, which also are gobbling up their share of content budgets.  According to the Financial Times “House of the Dragon” cost a reported $200 million for the season’s 10 episodes.

And at the end of this week Amazon Prime is set to release its own prequel series to the popular “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy.  The adaptation, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” will premiere September 2 - with a reported estimated cost of $715 million for the first season, per a recent Wall Street Journal report.