It's time to bid farewell to the androids of Westworld. HBO has cancelled the sci-fi title after four seasons, even though showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were hoping for a fifth to reach the ending they had in mind. Nolan and Joy were trying to negotiate for a last season as recently as October, but their discussions clearly did not pan out. In a statement, HBO said:
"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."
Westworld used to be one of HBO's tentpole projects, with 54 Emmy nominations and even a win for Thandiwe Newton as Outstanding Supporting Actress. Its ratings and viewership have plummeted over the years, however, and it never quite recovered. For fans, the fact that the show hadn't been renewed immediately after the latest season ended was already a bad sign.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, approximately 12 million viewers tuned in to watch the show's critically acclaimed first season across platforms. And, while we thought that Westworld returned to form in its third season, its numbers kept on tumbling until only 4 million viewers stuck around to watch the latest episodes. That's most likely not enough for HBO to justify a renewal. Apparently, the fourth season cost the network $160 million for eight episodes, which is more than what it spent on House of Dragons. The Game of Thrones prequel had ten episodes and averaged 29 million viewers for each one.