The cast members of Westworld will be receiving their full salaries for the fifth season of the HBO series, despite the broadcaster cancelling the new series. The cancellation caused shockwaves in the television industry owing to how critically acclaimed the first four seasons of the show had been.
Apparently not popular enough for HBO to renew the series though, which finished its most recent season only in August of this year. The broadcaster cited a drop in viewership for Westworld coupled with the cost of producing each episode of the sci-fi drama as the reasons for their decision, The Hollywood Reporter claims.
HBO issued a statement regarding their decision to cancel the series, which stars Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden and Sir Anthony Hopkins: “Over the past four seasons, Lisa and [Jonathan] 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.”
The cast members had signed a pay or play contract ahead of filming beginning for the fifth season of the show, touted as the final season to tie up a number of loose ends on the complex show. The contract essentially means that either they work on a new production of the series or get paid for their time in lieu of filming.
Deadline published figures owed to the cast for season 5 ranged between $10m to $15m USD, which would lend credence to concerns how much the final season would cost when production values are included. Season one of Westworld had an estimated $88m budget behind it, which then grew to $107,000 by the second series.
As Warner Bros. Discovery looks to trim costs after the acquisition of HBO and HBO Max as part of their “ongoing evaluation of programming”, it marks another high profile cancellation for the company following their decision to axe the Batgirl movie earlier in the year - despite it being ready to be released.