"A Game of Thrones"

HBO is set to film a new fantasy television series in Northern Ireland. The show will be the largest-scale production ever filmed there.

The news follows the announcement that Universal Pictures will shoot a major multi-million dollar feature film in Northern Ireland this summer, entitled "Your Highness."

The HBO program, “A Game of Thrones,” is based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling series of novels, “A Song of Fire & Ice.” It is executive produced by David Benioff (“Troy”), D.B. Weiss (“Halo”) and Guymon Casady (“Hope & Faith”). The title of the show is from the first novel in the fantasy series.

“Fantasy is the most successful genre in terms of feature films given the incredible popularity of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Harry Potter movies,” said Benioff. “High fantasy has never been done on TV before and if anybody can do it, it’s HBO.”

And if anywhere can accommodate the high fantasy show, it’s Northern Ireland, whose leaders are more than happy to take on the project.

"This is the first time that a TV production of such vast size and scale has been filmed in Northern Ireland,” said First Minister Peter Robinson. “It will be a welcome boost to the production sector, helping develop the industry here and bringing employment and investment to Northern Ireland.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said:  “At a time of economic downturn, we have sought to bring a new and diverse range of investments here to create jobs and build experience. The creative industries are one key area.

Coming in the wake of the announcement by Universal Studios, this is a further boost for this sector and evidence that even in the midst of a difficult economic climate, we can attract world leading companies to our shores.”

“A Game of Thrones” is scheduled to arrive in Northern Ireland in late 2009. The epic project will film in various locations, as well as build a massive set in the Paint Hall film studio.