Here’s Why HBO Canceled ‘Vinyl’ After Renewing it for Season 2
Few series exemplify HBO’s current struggle to launch major hits like Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl, to fall flat with such a wide range of top-tier talent, and have a Season 2 renewal rescinded by the network. Now, HBO boss Casey Bloys explains the difficult decision, noting “it would only move the needle a little bit.”
Speaking to a room full of reporters at the TCA press tour, Bloys opened up on the ‘70s music drama’s high-profile failure, acknowledging “It didn’t land I think as we would have liked it, as [critics] would have liked it or as producers would have liked it.” Vinyl had already lost showrunner Terence Winter to its creative retool, and Bloys felt investing much further effort would have little return for his new vision of the network:
With limited resources, we didn’t think the retooling was worth the producers’ time if it would only move the needle a little bit … With a little bit of distance, thinking about what we want to do going forward, it really becomes about priorities … If I have limited resources, there are other things I want to do. We will more carefully consider things; it’s not something that I’d like to do or relish doing going forward — going back on things.
The drama stemmed from an idea by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, with Martin Scorsese directing the premiere. Bobby Cannavale starred as record label president Richie Finestra, alongside Ray Romano, Olivia Wilde, P.J. Byrne, Juno Temple, Ato Essandoh, Birgitte Sorenson and more.
Vinyl became the second high-profile HBO reversal in recent years, just as geopolitical comedy The Brink earned a second season renewal, before HBO walked back its decision. The network has notably struggled with launching major hits after Game of Thrones, and has seen a flurry of changes under Bloys.
There’s no telling if Vinyl would have dramatically improved in Season 2, but was HBO right to walk back its decision?