BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Here’s a roundup of news Thursday from the Television Critics Association summer meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs:
“Game of Thrones” fans, brace yourselves: The fantasy saga’s end is perhaps just a few years away.
HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo said that the drama series’ producers are leaning toward three more seasons after the just-concluded season five.
“I’m always hoping they’re going to change their minds, but I think that’s what we’re looking at right now,” Lombardo told a Television Critics Association meeting.
Asked about the possibility of a prequel series, Lombardo said he believed there’s “enormous story material” to be mined for such a project. But the focus now of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is season six of “Game of Thrones,” he said, which is in production now for 2016.
Lombardo was asked if the popular character of Jon Snow, who appeared to die last season, was actually a goner.
“Dead is dead is dead,” said Lombardo, adding, “Everything I’ve seen, heard and read,” Snow is dead.
THE DEVIL MADE THEM DO IT
Destination America is upping its scare factor for Halloween by scheduling what it describes as a live exorcism to air Oct. 30.
“Exorcism: Live!” was announced Thursday at a news conference in Beverly Hills, California. The event will be held at the St. Louis-area house where teen Roland Doe underwent the ritual in 1949. It became the inspiration for 1973’s “The Exorcist” movie.
The paranormal investigators featured on Destination America’s series “GHOST ASYLUM” will appear on the show with psychic medium Chip Coffey. Cameras will roll as they explore the home to find whatever is believed to have haunted it for years.
HER CLAWS ARE OUT
Betty White, a passionate animal activist, has harsh words for the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion while on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe this month.
“You don’t want to hear some of the things I want to do to that man,” the 93-year-old actress said.
“It’s such a heartbreaker. You can’t even talk about it, and to see this king of the jungle and personifying it in very way, this gorgeous creature. How can somebody do that?”
Cecil was drawn from a wildlife preserve and shot by American hunter Walter James Palmer on July 1. Palmer released a statement this week through a publicist saying he was with professional guides and believed the hunt was legal. The firm is no longer helping Palmer.
White, who said she’s “loved animals since the womb,” was promoting a new block of programming in August on Discovery Family Channel called “Pawgust,” with shows, specials and movies about animals. White will serve as the host of “Pawgust,” and be featured in promos.
LOUGANIS MAKES A SPLASH
Greg Louganis said he was unaware of fellow Olympian Bruce Jenner’s gender identity struggle when their paths crossed at the Summer 1976 Games and in later years.
The diving great, among the first prominent athletes to come out as gay, said Thursday he has yet to speak with the now-Caitlyn Jenner but can appreciate what she’s going through.
“We all have our journeys. Whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, we all have our own journeys,” Louganis, 55, told reporters during a Q&A session on the HBO documentary “Greg Louganis: Back on Board,” debuting Tuesday.
The response to Jenner’s candor, including her own reality series and an ESPY award for courage, contrasts sharply with Louganis’ experience before and after disclosing his orientation in 1992 and, in 1995, that he was HIV-positive.
He became the only man in diving history to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both springboard and platform diving, in 1984 and ’88, but found that opportunities available to other Olympic stars eluded him. He’s said previously he came to believe it was because his sexuality had not remained a secret within his sport.
DEMI GOES `DUSK TILL DAWN’
Robert Rodriguez had been waiting for a chance to work with Demi Lovato since she auditioned for his 2003 movie “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.”
The El Rey Network creator and executive producer of its TV series “From Dusk Till Dawn” said the show was a nice fit, so a character was written specifically for the 22-year-old.
Aside from her personal connection to the series, which is her relationship with cast member Wilmer Valderrama, Rodriguez said, “I’ve always been a big fan of hers and she’s on tour a lot, so when she’d come to set to visit I threw out that we’d love to put her in somewhere.”
Rodriguez was cagey about the part, which will be included in the show’s second season, premiering Aug. 25 at 9 p.m. EDT.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” is based on the 1996 film of the same name that went on to be a cult favorite.
WAITING PATIENTLY FOR `SOPRANOS’ CREATOR
It’s been six years since HBO first announced that “Sopranos” creator David Chase has a new project in the works, and according to the network’s programming chief, it’s still happening.
“He’s writing. I have seen pages,” Michael Lombardo said.
The story was first presented in 2009 as a miniseries called “A Ribbon of Dreams,” dramatizing the timeline of the Hollywood film industry.
“I think he has something really unbelievable, but he had to figure out is it a limited series, an open-ended series? He showed us two hours’ worth of material, and I trust I’ll see (more) by the end of the year. And I’m sure we’ll go from there. I fully expect we’ll be back up here during my tenure with David Chase and a new show.”
ROCK TAKES ON HULK
Dwayne Johnson says he was disappointed when he heard about a tape of Hulk Hogan using racial slurs.
Johnson, also a former pro wrestler said that the remarks didn’t match his personal history with Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea.
“I’ve known Terry for a lot of years, and my dad helped train him in Florida in the ’70s when he was breaking into the business. I come from a very long line of lineage of professional wrestlers. I had not known the man to be racist,” said Johnson, who was at the TV critics’ meeting to talk about his HBO series, “Ballers.”
“We’ve all talked trash, you know, especially in private. He said what he said, and he’s paying the price,” Johnson said.
The 61-year-old Hogan has suffered backlash despite apologizing in a statement for using “offensive language.”
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. severed ties with him this week.