‘Game of Thrones’ Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Say They Left HBO Over ‘Dysfunction,’ Lack of Stability

“Dysfunction kills more projects than anything else, whether it’s interpersonal … or institutional,” Weiss says

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff
D. B. Weiss and David Benioff attend the 2019 International Emmy Awards Gala (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Back in 2019, “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made headlines for securing an exclusive deal with Netflix. Now the creative pair are opening up about their frustrations with HBO’s parent company.

“Dysfunction kills more projects than anything else, whether it’s interpersonal
dysfunction or institutional dysfunction,” Weiss said in an interview with Wall Street Journal Magazine.

“When you sign a five-year deal with a company, you want that company to be stable so you can be left alone to do your work and not have to worry about it being bought by the phone company,” Benioff added. “Finding the smoothest ride in the ocean was key.”

The Netflix deal happened a year before AT&T acquired HBO’s parent company, Time Warner. The resulting acquisition led to the company being rebranded WarnerMedia. Though that “dysfunction” is initially what turned Benioff and Weiss away, HBO’s rocky parental drama continued after they left: In 2022, the AT&T spinoff WarnerMedia merged with Discovery, Inc. to become its current company, Warner Bros. Discovery, helmed by former Discovery CEO David Zaslov.

The story of Benioff and Weiss departing HBO isn’t without controversy and criticism on their end. Before signing the Netflix deal, the pair were signed on to create “Confederate,” an HBO series that was supposed to be an alternate history drama that ended with the American Civil War ending in a stalemate. The series was ultimately cancelled in 2020 following a mounting of backlash for the creators and HBO. The pair’s Netflix deal also came at the cost of their announced “Star Wars” trilogy, which they pulled out from to focus more on the streamer.

Since then, the duo have released the teen comedy-drama “Metal Lords” and the Sandra Oh-starring academia drama “The Chair,” which they executive produced. Benioff and Weiss also co-created “3 Body Problem” for Netflix along with “The Terror” showrunner Alexander Woo. The sci-fi epic is set to premiere in late March.


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