David Benioff & Dan Weiss Signed A Netflix Deal & 'GOT' Fans Are Celebrating
Game of Thrones ended roughly, with fans freaking out over the final twists in Season 8. But despite the complaints and some over-the-top outrage, the series went out on a high note. The series finale brought in a record 21 million viewers, an unheard-of number for an HBO show. And the Emmys went above and beyond, handing out a shocking 32 nominations all told, shattering records. With such bonafides, it's not surprising David Benioff and Dan Weiss signed a Netflix deal for a reported $300 million to create new content for the streaming service.
The only shock was that they signed with Netflix. Benioff and Weiss had a good run at HBO. But it was clear they were looking for a multi-year multi-project deal, something HBO isn't in the business of handing out. Streaming services, on the other hand, have made these sort of massive packages to woo content creators a bread-and-butter staple. Netflix already has several, including one with Shonda Rhimes and another with Ryan Murphy.
Heading into the bidding war over the Game of Thrones team, Amazon seemed to be in the lead, as able to offer the most money and flexibility. But Amazon Studios already has both Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time in development currently. It would be hard for the makers of Game of Thrones to compete in such a landscape.
Many thought Benioff and Weiss might stick with Disney/FX and Disney+, the third suitor in the mix. The two are already under contract at Lucasfilm, expanding that deal to make limited streaming series wouldn't have been a huge push. But in the end, Netflix won out.
According to Deadline, which broke the news:
A priority will be to hatch another water cooler series, this time for Netflix. GOT won the Prime Time Emmy for Best Drama the last three years the show was eligible, for the rare drama series that went against the binge-ing release strategy of streaming rivals. Now they are on the other side of that, looking to capture the zeitgeist as many Netflix series have done.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was delighted.
We are thrilled to welcome master storytellers David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Netflix. They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling. We can’t wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members.
It might seem a little surprising that Netflix would sink the money into Benioff and Weiss. The streaming service knows a thing or two about how Game of Thrones-like shows cannot be predicted. (Stranger Things is a perfect example.) But with both Apple+ and Disney+ on the horizon, and a need to keep subscribers from leaving, bringing in the big names seems the smartest play.
It's not because anyone expects Benioff and Weiss to capture lightning in a bottle twice. (Even HBO admits they are not trying for the "next Game of Thrones" because there's no such thing.) Instead, Netflix has brought aboard a team that shoots for the moon. That way their shows will at least land among the stars.