It has come to my attention that highly misleading information from an unreliable source has filtered onto the Internet regarding HBO's planned television adaption of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, namely that the project has been scrapped. After consulting sources close to GRRM, I feel able to counter these claims.
The deal for HBO to option the television rights to A Song of Ice and Fire was ongoing in 2006 and concluded in January 2007, when GRRM announced the news on his website. Subsequent blog entries confirmed that the writing of the pilot script had commenced. Prior to the start of the Writer's Guild of America Strike in November 2007, writer-producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had completed a pilot script which GRRM had signed off on. This script had been passed to HBO, who were considering it and running budget estimates for the series at the time that the strike began. As with all Hollywood television projects, work on the adaption was suspended until the strike concluded in mid-February 2008.
During the timeframe of the strike, it emerged that HBO was also considering making a large-budget television series based on the legend of King Arthur. Apparently, HBO was only interested in one or other of the two projects, not both. If the Arthur series was formally comissioned, then the adaption of A Song of Ice and Fire would not proceed and vice versa.
This remains the case at the present time. No final decision has been made but the tentative plan is for HBO to adapt A Song of Ice and Fire as a series of 13-episode television seasons (potentially seven seasons in length, one for each novel). Whilst the project would be high-budget, it would not be as expensive as HBO's previous major costume drama, Rome, and would probably be filmed in Eastern Europe or perhaps New Zealand due to the lowered production costs. It is an extremely ambitious project which frankly no other television station would probably even consider making.
The claim that the adaption was 'shelved' four weeks ago is actually technically correct, since the Writer's Strike was ongoing at that time and all television drama production and development in the USA was 'shelved' at that time. However, the inference that any kind of final decision has been taken to scrap the project is false. It is not industry practice to throw out options before they expire, and the option on A Song of Ice and Fire still has many months to run.
Any further developments - positive or negative - will appear on George RR Martin's website or his Not-a-Blog before anywhere else.