After the popular T.V series, Westworld recently released its fourth season finale on August 14, 2022, the show has now met its untimely end. HBO has called it quits with the dystopian sci-fi series. This comes as a shock to viewers of Westworld as the series was well-acclaimed and has more than fifty Emmy nominations to its name.
Even though the creators had plans of concluding the series after a fifth season to give it the ending they wanted, HBO didn’t let that happen. However, this news does come with a silver lining. Well, maybe just for the cast members. According to sources, the cast of Westworld will still be paid for season five, despite the show’s cancellation.
Westworld Still Paying the Core Cast?
Westworld had some big names in its ensemble, including Tessa Thompson, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and more. Apparently, the core cast members had pay-or-play deals for the canceled season. A pay-or-play deal is where a production company guarantees payment to the actor, even if the show gets canceled. This mostly happens when the team does not want to let go of their actors. With such celebrities involved in Westworld, it was only fair for the production team to think ahead of time.
Westworld certainly wasn’t a cheap show to make. The budget for the show’s third season alone was about $100 million, with the actors’ salaries taking a huge chunk out of the budget. The payment the actors’ are owed for season five is somewhere between the lines of $10-$15 million in total. While the cast members will be getting their share of the deal, the other crew members will not be walking out with such a hefty amount. The company will be saving about $80 million because of the cancellation.
According to sources, the actors’ had their options opened up just before the fourth season had aired. Apparently, some negotiations took place and it is a possibility that the actors walked away with a heavier pay-check than usual.
Why was Westworld Cancelled
While nothing was confirmed, reports were made that the cancellation happened due to a decline in viewership. Looks like HBO followed the footsteps of Netflix which has a viewership vs. cost criteria to figure out which show stays and which walks out the door. Westworld’s ratings fell sharply after the third season and then even more after the fourth. Fans even called out the show for becoming way too dense and confusing, which might’ve contributed to the fallen ratings.
Warner Bros. Discovery has previously shown its plans for the future of the company, increasing the savings target to $3.5 billion, $500 million more than its initial target. Westworld’s cancellation came just a day after a challenging quarterly earnings report by Warner Bros. Discovery, HBO’s parent company.
According to CEO David Zaslav, “the grand experiment of creating something at any cost is over.” This could imply that WBD will no longer be entertaining shows that don’t yield profitable results. Westworld seems to have found itself under WBD’s axe.
Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy had previously shown interest in a fifth season for the show, stating that they had a certain ending in mind. However, the axing didn’t let that happen and Westworld concluded with an ambiguous ending. However, a reboot is always a possibility and who knows, maybe the creators could then give the show the ending it deserved.
Westworld can be streamed on HBO Max.