HBO Uses Game Of Thrones Premiere Date Reveal To Get True Detective More Viewers

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones HBO

Queen Cersei Lannister would surely approve of HBO's recent machinations. The network tweeted that the exact premiere date for Game of Thrones Season 8 would be revealed just before the premiere of True Detective Season 3 on Sunday.

As date reveals go, that certainly tops the excruciating ice melt for Season 7.

Sure enough, on Sunday night, HBO revealed the date to be Sunday, April 14, 2019 -- squeezing in this teaser in the moments before the True Detective Season 3 premiere:

Previewing the Stark siblings' deaths? Except for Bran Stark? How much should we read into that? HBO had previewed the date reveal with this joking text exchange:

Before this, all fans knew was that Game of Thrones Season 8 was meant to have six feature-length episodes, starting in April. Which Sunday in April? Well, there were only four to choose from. Now we know it's April 14.

More than that, though, this tease had fans hyped for some kind of trailer or at least a new teaser. HBO knew that would drive a lot of fans to the cable network on Sunday -- not just the date announcement, but the footage that may be around it.

I suspected they wouldn't drop the full official trailer we've all been waiting for right before the premiere of True Detective Season 3. The point of it was to draw viewers TO Mahershala Ali's debut in the new season. A full Game of Thrones trailer would need to be dissected immediately and distract from True Detective. So it was light on new footage, but also still dissect-able.

True Detective has never had Game of Thrones-level viewers -- the first two seasons both averaged about 2.5 million viewers vs. GoT Season 7 averaging more than 10 million. But GoT fans may have kept HBO on after getting the premiere date to check out True Detective. That seems to have been the main point. 'Cause otherwise they could've told fans the date at any old time. They can still drop the official trailer at any old time, too.

Game of Thrones already got fans talking with about three seconds of new footage revealed during the Golden Globe Awards. That new scene showed Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow arriving at Winterfell, with a clearly unhappy Sansa Stark saying Winterfell was Dany's to command. So far, all new footage has focused on the Starks at Winterfell. Read into it.

Game of Thrones fans are on standby for a full trailer, and any other footage they can get, before the big premiere on April 14 most likely at 9 p.m. ET as usual on HBO.

For now, HBO is in full True Detective mode. Season 3 of that series continues Sunday nights at 9 p.m.

Here's what else is airing in midseason 2019 as we wait for Game of Thrones to arrive ... and then depart almost as quickly as it arrived. Seriously, stretch the hype out as long as you can, 'cause after this we just have the prequel series.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.