Today in show business news: HBO has a big ratings hit, Oprah re-ups with LaToya Jackson, and there's a new man in charge of American Idol. Also: Hobbit.
Sunday night's season finale of Game of Thrones reeled in a total of 6.3 million people over two airings, capping off a season that saw the show grow to become HBO's most popular show since The Sopranos. An average of 13.6 million people watched each episode of Game of Thrones this season, through a combination of live viewing, DVR, On Demand, and HBO GO. That's a lot of people! But it can't compare to The Sopranos's height of 14.4 million, especially when you consider that most people didn't have DVR or On Demand back then. And of course HBO GO didn't exist at all. Meaning they just watched straight-up regular style, all 14.4 million of them. Well not all of them, but a lot of them. Most of them, probably. Anyway, the point is that Game of Thrones is a big, big hit for the network, which had been sort of lacking a flagship show for a little while there. Good news all around, as it ensures that HBO stays committed to the series and of course everyone who works on it gets to keep their job. Except the people who get killed off, of course. And people are going to be killed off. Many more people. Prepare ye. [Deadline]
On the other end of the cable spectrum, we hear the news that OWN, that's the network that Oprah OWNS, has renewed LaToya Jackson's show Life With La Toya for a second season. So that's great. The LaToya Jackson show is one of OWN's most popular series. I'm sure that's exactly what Oprah envisioned when she set out to start her own television network. "Someday my great and powerful network will air a second season of a LaToya Jackson reality show on Saturday nights." Oh well. Whatever works, right? For some networks it's mystical alter-Earth fantasy and for other it's Game of Thrones. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Fox has officially let go of longtime American Idol producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick as they attempt to revitalize the slumping show. To replace them, Fox has brought on the whimsically named Per Blankens, who successfully ran Swedish Idol for five seasons. So next season expect to see lots of bespoke blond wood on the set and tall elfin blonde people singing, and of course we can expect the show to start in darkness in January and eventually brighten up into the forever-sun of May. Should be interesting! Every week the contestants make a Volvo commercial and then the judges throw dill and salmon at them. Sweden! [Deadline]
Here is the first poster art for the next Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug. It looks great, all grand and foreboding. And you don't need 3D glasses to enjoy it! Hopefully this second movie will improve on the first, which was a videogame-y muddle. So far so good... [Entertainment Weekly]
And here's a trailer for The Frozen Ground, which features Nicolas Cage as a detective hunting a serial killer (John Cusack) with the help of a prostitute, played by Vanessa Hudgens, who escaped the madman's clutches. The movie is based on the real-life serial killer Robert Hansen, who ran rampant in Alaska in the early '80s. Seems like some cheery stuff. Shockingly, the film will be released On Demand simultaneous to its theatrical release.