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HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty has come to an end.
After the second season finale Sunday, Creator Max Borenstein confirmed the news on X. “Not the ending that we had in mind,” he wrote. “But nothing but gratitude and love.”
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Director Salli Richardson followed up on Instagram with “When you give it everything you’ve got, you can have no regrets. I hope you enjoy the last episode of @winningtimehbo I am sure I will do many more hours of TV and hopefully many features in my future, but I can say that at this moment in time I am most proud of the work we did on this masterful show.”
Added co-creator/executive producer Jim Hecht on X, “9.5 years. We made the show of my dreams. That wasn’t the ending we hoped for but very grateful to everyone who watched and for trusting me with his genius book.”
The second season of Winning Time returned to HBO Aug. 6 with 629,000 total viewers across Max and linear telecasts. That was a fall from grace, considering the 901,000 people who tuned in for the Season 1 debut in March 2022. By May of that year, Season 1 managed to amass 1.6M same-day viewers for the finale. (Although, it might be worth nothing that Season 1 also most likely benefitted from the buzz of March Madness, when basketball is already top of mind for audiences.)
The HBO series is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. The show’s sophomore run focused on the period just after the 1980 NBA Finals through 1984, culminating in the first professional rematch of the era’s greatest stars: Magic (Quincy Isaiah) and the Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small).
Last month, Pearlman went on X to implore folks to check out the second season. “I’m telling you — the future of “Winning Time” hangs in the balance,” Pearlman tweeted. “We need viewers. The strikes are crippling. Please help spread the word. Season 2 is amazing. But … HBO is big on #s,” he wrote.
Back in May, HBO’s head of drama Fracesca Orsi said in a Deadline interview that the network brass were “having conversations regarding viewership relative to budget” on several sophomore series, including Willing Time.
“Each show has a job to do, given the price tag that we give to it, and there’s a viewership. component, and there’s a critical response element to it and, of course, the buzz nature of a show. It’s those elements that we are always keeping in mind and discussing relative to whether or not a show will continue,” she said. “That factors in for Perry Mason, for Winning Time, for instance, for Gilded Age, so we have to play everything out and see how well they do.”
Perry Mason was canceled in June.
Adrien Brody, John C. Reilly, Michael Chiklis), and Jason Segel star in Winning Time, alongside Jason Clarke, Gaby Hoffmann, Hadley Robinson, DeVaughn Nixon, Solomon Hughes, Tamera Tomakili, Brett Cullen, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Spencer Garrett, Molly Gordon, Joey Brooks, Delante Desouza, Jimel Atkins, Austin Aaron, McCabe Slye, Thomas Mann, Gillian Jacobs and Rob Morgan.
The executive producers are writer/co-creators Borenstein and Jim Hecht, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Scott Stephens, Rodney Barnes, director Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Jason Shuman.
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