While it was expected that Winning Time would get a second season, the same can’t be said for a third one. While the dramatized series focusing on the Showtime Lakers (based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime) has received positive reviews from critics and seemed likely to go beyond a second season, the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike is one that’s set to shut Hollywood down effectively for the foreseeable future.
And Pearlman, a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, took to social media Wednesday and essentially pleaded with viewers to watch the show. He referred to the ongoing strikes as “crippling” and while Season 2 has been well-received thus far, putting the full-court press on conflicts, that doesn’t necessarily mean HBO will renew the show for a third season. Pearlman pointed to numbers as being a big factor there.
I'm telling you — the future of "Winning Time" hangs in the balance. We need viewers. The strikes are crippling. Please help spread the word. Season 2 is amazing. But … HBO is big on #s. #winningtime pic.twitter.com/A8OTEi0Sog
— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) August 16, 2023
The response from inside the NBA regarding Season 1 was less encouraging. The league has objected to the usage of its trademarks, and the portrayal of some personalities, including Jerry West, has received negative feedback. The Lakers themselves have also been cold towards the series, repeatedly stating “The Lakers have no comment as we are not supporting nor involved with this project.”
Even with that, HBO has already optioned another of Pearlman’s books, Three Ring Circus, focusing on the Lakers of the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s. However, the second season of Winning Time only runs through 1984, meaning we still have several years to cover in the Showtime era if HBO wants to fully cover the dynasty.
So, there is still a story to tell here and HBO clearly isn’t finished doing so as the second season only runs through 1984. At the same time, if the numbers aren’t what they ought to be, the future of the show will continue to hang in the balance, regardless of the reception, for the time being. Viewership seems to be everything here, especially at a time when Hollywood is at crossroads, hence why Pearlamn was pleading for those to watch the show he’s played a significant role in coming to life.
[Jeff Pearlman on Twitter]