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TCA: HBO Touts New Originals, Confirms 'Entourage' Ending Next Year

HBO's co-president Richard Plepler and programming chief Mike Lombardo shrugged off questions that its Martin Scorsese-produced drama Boardwalk Empire might get lost in the network season premiere noise when it debuts Sept. 19.

"We didn't want to hold it," said Lombardo. "There are good shows out all year round and we're in a different business. We think this will resonate well in the fall."

Plepler added that 2/3 of HBO's viewers consume episodes after the debut night of a fresh episode, choosing to catch episodes on their DVRs, on demand platform or encore airings.

On other issues:

--They confirmed that Alan Ball will be shooting a new pilot for the premium service, but stressed that his primary responsibility will remain with True Blood.

--The executives were asked what the Emmy voters have against writer-producer David Simon. His The Wire was all but ignored by voters, as has been his new series Treme this season.

"There's nothing you can do about the Emmy Gods," Plepler said, adding you can't watch each episode and say the show is not honor-worthy.

"With The Wire virtually ignored by the Emmys, I think David would be uncomfortable to be recognized now," Lombardo quipped.

--Next season will be the last for Entourage, but its creator, Doug Ellin, has pitched other ideas to the network.

--The executives are high on a remake of Mildred Pierce in production now and starring Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce and Evan Rachel Wood; and Dustin Hoffman's first TV series, Luck, created by David Milch and set in the horseracing world. Given the different working styles of the creatives involved, Lombardo said going in the fear was it could be "mayhem or magic, and fortunately it was magic."

--A film on the creation of Bruce Springsteen's fourth album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, will be shown in October. The band filmed its creative process and the footage has been in a vault since the album was created in 1978.