'Confederate' Creators Are "Not Actively" Working On The Controversial HBO Series

With Game of Thrones coming to an end after the upcoming final season, HBO is looking for ways to keep the network relevant and keep its subscribers hooked on its high-quality shows. So the network heads must have thought they hit the jackpot when GOT creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss came to them with news that they wanted to make a new original series.

The only problem was, the announcement of that series – which is called Confederate – was met with wide derision online and caused the type of response HBO wasn't initially hoping for: a full-blown controversy. Things have been quiet on the development front since then, but now a new report says the show's creators are "not actively" working on it...though it does remain in development. Read the latest Confederate HBO update below.

In July, a press release announced that Benioff and Weiss had teamed up with Malcolm Spellman (Empire) and Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife) to develop Confederate, an alternate history series that takes place during the lead-up to America's Third Civil War. Here's the official synopsis:

Confederate chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.

As you probably recall, the announcement was immediately met with an intense backlash, which the producers had to quickly address. Even the president of the network had to comment on the controversy, calling the show "a risk worth taking." In the meantime, Amazon announced its own alternate history series called Black America that takes the complete opposite approach: their show centers on freed slaves who have been granted three southern states as reparations. Talk about whiplash. We haven't heard anything about Confederate since then, so I assumed it had been quietly abandoned.

Not so, says The Washington Post (via The Playlist). The Post just published a new report about the future of HBO and included a small update about Confederate, saying the show is "still in development," but "the creators are not actively working on it" right now. Is that because Benioff, Weiss, and the Spellmans are busy with other projects? Could they be thinking about reshaping the entire premise of the show in the wake of the backlash? We don't have any more details at this time; this is a tough issue to parse. It's safe to say people have strong feelings about this show (which, again, hasn't even been written yet), but I'm very curious to see whether they soldier on with this or end up leaving it on the sidelines and moving on to something else entirely. We'll keep you in the loop.