Game of Thrones is a massive hit for HBO, winning awards and setting records on its way to being arguably the most talked about show on TV right now. So it’s easy to forget that a super-expensive sprawling fantasy epic with a million characters that is made for adults was orginally an extremely hard sell. Believe it or not, the decision to greenlight the show ended up coming from a really good workout (literally).
HBO president Michael Lombardo revealed the surprising truth behind giving Game of Thrones a go in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Back in 2008, co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss submitted a pilot script for GoT to HBO president Michael Lombardo, who tells EW, “We were trying to figure out the production challenges. We knew it had to be able to stand next to projects in this genre being done on the big screen yet with a more limited budget.” AKA, it seems like a big, hard show to make.
So one day Lombardo went to the gym, still thinking about whether or not GoT would be feasible to produce, when he spied a familiar face. “I see Dan [Benioff] on one of the bicycles,” Lombardo says. “He was reading this dog-eared copy of the first book. And it had underscores and yellow highlights [on the pages]. And he did not know I saw him — I was standing on the side. And I thought, ‘We’re going to figure this out. These guys breathe this show in a way that doesn’t happen all the time.’”
So there you have it: it turns out if it weren’t for stationary bicycles, there may not be a Game of Thrones TV show! That almost motivates us to go exercise ... but we’ll probably just watch some GoT reruns instead.