NEW YORK • The next season of Game Of Thrones will debut a little later than normal and, as expected, it will be a little shorter.
HBO announced on Monday that the seventh season of the series will be seven episodes long - a departure from the 10-episode schedule of each of the previous six seasons.
The show will also debut in the summer of next year. Previous seasons started in March or April.
The network said a later shooting schedule would help the season's plot.
"Now that winter has arrived on Game Of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt the story lines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing," HBO's president of programming, Mr Casey Bloys, said in a statement.
The new schedule could present a significant opportunity for HBO's competitors: If the seventh season begins later than May, the show will not be eligible for next year's Emmy Awards.
Game Of Thrones has garnered the most Emmy nominations of any television show for three consecutive years and, last year, it took home the Emmy for Best Drama for the first time.
Benioff and Weiss had said last month that they envisioned two more seasons to close the series, amounting to about 13 episodes.
Game Of Thrones has never been more popular. Last month's Season 6 finale had the highest ratings for the show.
NEW YORK TIMES