Silicon Valley is not your typical workplace comedy. The new HBO series, loosely based on creator Mike Judge's experience as test engineer at a tech startup in the ’80s, follows protagonist Richard Hendriks—who invents a powerful file-compression technology called Pied Piper—as he starts his own company and fights for a slice of the tech-boom pie. Along the way, we get a fictionalized glimpse of Silicon Valley office spaces—a subject easy to satirize, given how Bay Area tech giants such as Google have become famous for their zany, playground-plush offices spaces.
Silicon Valley is a meticulously researched show—tech advisors help ensure that even scribblings on Post-It notes on set seem as realistic as possible—and the work spaces that appear on screen are no exception. Production designer Richard Toyon, the man responsible for the visual storytelling, called up friends all over Silicon Valley to get a peek inside the offices of Facebook, Google, Zynga, and others. Security often prevented Toyon from taking pictures inside the buildings, so he made due with mental notes.
In a bid sure to lure binge watchers of quality programs like The Sopranos and The Wire, a new deal will bring HBO series to Amazon Prime streaming and Fire TV.
HBO director of digital and social media Jim Marsh breaks down the Game of Thrones approach to social marketing and fan engagement.
HBO has managed to ride the wave of fans’ organic social interaction around the show by getting involved in the conversations, while also using creative campaigns to keep stoking the fire during and between seasons.
Spots created by BBDO New York stress—in a lighthearted way—that nobody loves you like HBO GO.
Boardwalk Empire’s Terence Winter on the surprising effect of truth in television.
He says that killing one of his key and most popular characters was “the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my career.” But he did it because he feels he owes audiences a truthful show. “First and foremost you want to be truthful as a storyteller. So I said if we are going to tell this story truthfully and not as a ‘TV show,’ then he has to die. Even though it was very inconvenient for me as a showrunner, I felt I had a duty to be real so I had to do it. Anything less would feel phony. ” In fact, just before Nucky shoots Jimmy in last season’s finale, they have this exchange:
No one likes paying for cable. But the rise of the pay-TV business model led to the revolution in quality we’re currently enjoying from HBO shows like Thrones, as well as basic-cable programs like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Years ago, when channels only received revenue from advertising, they made shows to reach as many people as possible, whether viewers loved them or just tuned in because they happened to be on. Cable changed those incentives, rewarding the creation of shows viewers felt strongly enough to pay for (indirectly in the case of channels like FX and AMC). That made nuanced drama profitable on television—and the best television more sophisticated than film. Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.
NO ONE LIKES PAYING FOR CABLE. BUT THE RISE OF THE PAY-TV BUSINESS MODEL LED TO THE REVOLUTION IN QUALITY WE’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING FROM HBO SHOWS LIKE THRONES.
Shows like Game of Thrones cost big bucks. Each episode of the first season reportedly had a budget of more than $5 million. Most such shows don’t attract all that many viewers compared to cheaper mainstream programs like American Idol. And if Game of Thrones sounds like easy money, remember that it has to generate enough profit to make up for Romeand John From Cincinnati. If HBO sold every show by the episode right away, it would have to charge a premium for hits to make up for its inevitable misses
In preparation for the documentary’s airing, HBO and the Whole Kids Foundation entered into an agreement to fund 100 salad bars in schools across America. Whole Kids has been engaged in a long-term project to install 6,000 salad bars in public schools nationwide.
HBO will also make Weight available for free online streaming.
Apatow brought a sense of structure and pacing, and, according to Dunham, “the most emotional, connected, what most people might think of as the most feminine content. You’ll watch it and go, ‘The hand-job joke was Judd’s; that crying girl was Lena’s.’ Well, flip it. I just brought my desire to share my shame with the world.” She also felt her sensibility addressed an underserved voice—confused New York women bridging the Gossip Girl teens and Sex in the City career women.
Are you watching the premiere of “Girls” tonight? Okay, maybe after ”Mad Men”?
It took a 26-year-old auteur, Lena Dunham, to lure Judd Apatow back to television.
“This is the first time I’ve done television since 2001 or 2002,” said Apatow at the Television Critics Association Press Tour earlier this year. “I really wasn’t interested. I was hurt, I was wounded—and sad. The only good television experience I’d had was with HBO working on The Larry Sanders Show. So I knew HBO was the best place to be. What Jenni and Lena were scheming was up my alley. I love underdogs and people making awful mistakes. There is a female geekdom to the show. Lena and Jenni are running the show. I’ve been able to give notes and advice.”
Ever love a show so much it hurt? On Friday, 50 Game Of Thrones megafans got free tattoos of the sigils for each of the five noble houses of Westeros.
Infographic of the Day: HBO Recycles The Same Actors, Again And Again