Game of Thrones will return to US screens on Sunday, 12 April, HBO has announced. The highly anticipated season 5 will debut at 9pm in the States.

Sky has also confirmed to Pocket-lint that it plans to show the episode on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV the following evening at 9pm UK time. It won't be simulcasting the first episode with its US airing this time though.

The European satellite broadcaster took the unique step of showing Game of Thrones season 4 episode 1 at 2am on the Monday morning to run parallel to the show's debut eastern US time slot. There was a disparity in that Sky shows adverts while HBO does not, but fans still loved having the opportunity to see the show before Twitter flooded with spoilers.

Sky won't be repeating the experiment, however. As a Sky spokesman told Pocket-lint, the broadcaster wants all fans to experience the show together, not in staggered time slots. "We know it’s a 'watercooler' show so while we experimented with simulcasting the first episode of S4, we plan to premiere each new episode of S5 at 9pm GMT on Sky Atlantic in order to encourage UK fans to watch, enjoy and discuss their favourite show together," the company explained.

"We are proud to be the exclusive home of Game of Thrones in the UK, embracing and encouraging discussion, reaction and unrestrained fandom via Sky Atlantic’s social media feeds and dedicated companion show Thronecast, which will be returning bigger and better than ever this season."

Last series, NOW TV listed the show to watch on demand from the original simulcast rather than its later evening repeat, so those not wishing to stay up late could still watch it at their convenience. It did, however, break NOW TV for a while such was the demand and that's something Sky will also look to avoid this time around.

HBO previously revealed that it will be screening the first official trailer for season 5 in IMAX cinemas in the US from 23 to 29 January, when it will accompany two episodes from season 4 - The Watchers on the Wall and The Children - on the big screen.

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