'House of the Dragon' Co-Creator Stepping Down as Showrunner After First Season

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There's been a shakeup in Westeros as House of the Dragon co-creator, showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik is exiting the Game of Thrones prequel series after just one season.

HBO confirmed the news in a press release on Wednesday, sharing that Sapochnik has signed on to a first-look deal to develop new projects for the cable network while remaining onboard as an executive producer for Dragon

Ryan Condal will serve as the series' sole showrunner beginning in the second season, continuing to work closely with series co-creator George R. R. Martin. Additionally, HBO has hired longtime collaborator and GoT alum Alan Taylor as an executive producer and director of multiple episodes for the next season. 

"Miguel Sapochnik has done amazing work on the first season of House of the Dragon, establishing its signature look and feel. This series simply could not have come together the way it did without him," a rep for HBO said in a statement. "While we would have loved to have Miguel continue in the same role, we are thrilled to have his ongoing collaboration in this new creative capacity. Looking forward, we’ve had a decades-long relationship with Alan Taylor, and we are delighted to have him join Ryan and [the] rest [of] the talented team."

Sapochnik notes that the decision to move on comes after years of work already invested in developing the hit show. 

"Working within the GoT universe for the past few years has been an honor and a privilege, especially spending the last two with the amazing cast and crew of House of the Dragon. I am so proud of what we accomplished with Season One and overjoyed by the enthusiastic reaction of our viewers," he says in a statement.

He continues, "It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally. As I do so, though, I am deeply comforted to know that Alan will be joining the series. He’s someone I’ve known and respected for a long time, and I believe this precious series could not be in safer hands."

For his part, Taylor previously directed seven episodes of Game of Thrones -- earning two Emmy nominations -- and nine episodes of The Sopranos, for which he took home a statue in 2007.

"It’s a pleasure and an honor to be back at HBO, immersing myself in the world of the Targaryens. I look forward to working closely with Ryan as House of the Dragon grows into its second season," he says in a statement. "Ryan, Miguel and George have launched an extraordinary story, in a rich and fascinating world. Returning to Westeros will be a huge undertaking and I’m looking forward to the challenge."

Weeks earlier, it was announced that House of the Dragon had been renewed for a second season after airing its very first episode. Premiering on Sunday, Aug. 21, it became the most-viewed debut of any new original series in the premium cable channel’s history. 

Adapted from Martin’s book, Fire & BloodHouse of the Dragon takes place 200 years before Daenerys Targaryen's quest for the Iron Throne and features an ensemble cast, including Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno and Rhys Ifans, as well as Milly Alcock and Emily Carey.

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