In a series of cancellations, HBO has managed to disappoint many viewers as of late. Now, “Westworld” fans will be among them. The network announced today that it is canceling the sci-fi drama after four seasons. The show just aired its season four finale in August.
HBO, in a prepared statement, said, “Over the past four seasons, Lisa and Jonah have taken viewers on a mind-bending odyssey, raising the bar at every step. We are tremendously grateful to them, along with their immensely talented cast, producers and crew, and all of our partners at Kilter Films, Bad Robot and Warner Bros. Television. It’s been a thrill to join them on this journey.”
“Westworld,” created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, had the potential to be the network’s next “Game of Thrones.” At least in the beginning. The series earned nine Emmys and starred Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Thandiwe Newton, Luke Hemsworth and Aaron Paul.
But, sadly, “Westworld” will never get the fifth season Nolan hoped for.
It’s likely the network made the decision after watching viewership ratings for “Westworld” continue to drop and drop. For instance, the third season only drew in 1.8 million viewers across multiple platforms for the season 3 finale, down 18% from the final episode of season 2, according to The Wrap.
Fans and critics alike anticipated the failure. One Twitter user said, “I won’t pretend like I didn’t see this coming.”
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been on a cost-cutting spree for months, shelving the highly anticipated DC movie “Batgirl” and canceling multiple shows that were deemed unsuccessful.
“We are being deliberate about measuring how are the shows doing,” Zaslav said in yesterday’s earnings call. “Let me be very clear, we did not get rid of any show that is helping us… It’s a business of failure, but we’d rather take that money and spend it again and have a chance of having a show that will engage and delight.”
Zaslav also noted that the company would focus on popular franchises, including “Superman,” “Harry Potter” and “Game of Thrones.” He’s been particularly vocal about improving the DC slate. The company even brought on Marvel filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran as the new co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios.
After Warner Bros. Discovery missed expectations yesterday, the company is probably feeling the pressure to deliver better content as it gets ready to launch its combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service next year.