HBO’s popular series, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” is cancled after wrapping up its second season. Creator Max Borenstein delivered the news, expressing gratitude despite the unexpected ending.
Director Salli Richardson shared her thoughts on Instagram, emphasizing the importance of giving one’s best in the project and having no regrets. She also hinted at future television and film endeavors.
The viewership for the second season, which returned to HBO on August 6th, reached 629,000 viewers across Max and linear telecasts. This marked a decline from the 901,000 viewers who tuned in for the Season 1 debut in March 2022. Season 1’s high viewership was likely boosted by the excitement of March Madness, a significant basketball event.
Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” the show’s second season focused on the period immediately following the 1980 NBA Finals through 1984, culminating in the first professional rematch between Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah) and the Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small).
Jeff Pearlman had urged viewers to support the second season, recognizing its importance for the show’s future. However, the series faced challenges in maintaining its audience.
In May, HBO’s head of drama, Fracesca Orsi, mentioned in a Deadline interview that the network was evaluating viewership relative to the budget for several sophomore series, including “Winning Time.” This decision hinges on multiple factors, including viewership, critical response, and overall buzz.
Notably, HBO had previously canceled “Perry Mason” in June, adding to uncertainties regarding the fate of certain shows.
The ensemble cast of “Winning Time” featured Adrien Brody, John C. Reilly, Michael Chiklis, Jason Segel, and other accomplished actors. The series was produced by writer/co-creators Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht, along with Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Scott Stephens, Rodney Barnes, director Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and Jason Shuman.