HBO won't send out advance 'Game of Thrones' screeners to avoid piracy

The network has made a change after four episodes leaked last year.


The public's appetite for all things Games of Thrones has cemented its rank as the most pirated show year after year, but HBO's going to try and change that with season six set to premiere at the end of April. For the first time, the network isn't going to send out any advance screeners of the show to critics for review -- they'll have to watch on Sunday nights along with everyone else. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo unequivocally told Entertainment Weekly that "there will be no copies for review."

It's a big change, but it's not entirely surprising given what happened ahead of season five last year. Four episodes of the season leaked online -- presumably from advance review screeners -- before the show had even premiered. Piracy after the shows aired is inevitable, but HBO surely wants to keep secrets about the new season from hitting the internet before the show even comes back.

That's particularly important this year, as Game of Thrones season six will start unveiling plot points that haven't even been published in George R.R. Martin's books yet, giving HBO even more reason to keep things quiet. Critics and fans alike will have their first chance to see the new season on April 24th.