HBO’s Casey Bloys Returns to Lehigh Valley to Speak at Moravian

Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, came to speak at Moravian College’s Foy Hall on the evening of Sept. 6, generating a very big buzz around campus.

Foy Hall was filled with about 300 people from all walks of life, from curious students to wannabe screenwriters. Some were simply huge “Game of Thrones” fans, decked out in “Game of Thrones” shirts in support of one of the currently biggest shows on television.

After short speeches from President Bryon Grigsby and Michael Corr, director of marketing and communications, Bloys sat down with Dr. Joel Nathan Rosen, associate professor of sociology and anthropology, and director of the communications and media studies program at Moravian.

The presentation, dubbed “Inside the Moravian Studio,” was question-and-answer style, with Rosen serving as moderator. Rosen touched on many interesting topics throughout the talk, such as how Bloys got his start in television and the work that goes into producing hit shows. At the end of the session, the floor was open for questions from the audience.

Bloys moved to Los Angeles almost 21 years ago, kicking off his start in the television and film industry. He said he always knew that he wanted to work in television, which was unusual given the popularity of film at the time.

“I had always wanted to work in television, specifically TV, not film,” said Bloys. “But I didn’t really understand the television business or how it worked.”

A graduate of Bethlehem’s Freedom High School and Northwestern University, Bloys got a job out of college in marketing at Paramount Studios and rose through the ranks from there.

Bloys spent the bulk of the talk detailing his work responsibilities, upcoming series, and the television industry as a whole. He also described how HBO operates, since it’s a subscription service that doesn’t run advertisements.

“Most of the media attention for HBO is on the original series, but about half of our subscribers have never seen [them],” said Bloys. “We have better films than any other streaming service. We have first-run films from three-and-a-half studios.”

When asked why television is now entertainment’s frontrunner instead of film, Bloys said, “The movie industry really is imploding. Most of the contemporary adult films are gone and are supplanted by TV series. The strength of storytelling in television has become apparent to people.”

“When you remove advertising from the picture like we did a long time ago, it does change the tenor of the business and of storytelling. It feels a little more pure,” Bloys continued. “I think from the beginning there’s always been an assumption that our audience will catch up and will understand nuance.”

Upcoming projects for HBO include “The Deuce,” a series about the beginning of the pornography industry as seen in a more sociological light; “Confederate,” a Civil War-era drama that has stirred up much controversy because of its take on racial issues; the last season of “Game of Thrones;” and many other original series and documentaries.