HBO announced on Monday that all three shows had been renewed. HBO programming president Casey Bloys told IndieWire that all three shows will be back with 10 episodes each, but it’s unclear whether Season 2 of “Westworld” will be ready to return by next fall.
“‘Westworld’ is such a big and ambitious show I’m not sure it will be fall 2017, it could go into 2018,” Bloys said. “We’ll have to see when we get it up and running.”
The pickup comes after creatively solid freshman frames for all three Sunday night series, which received generally strong reviews. “Westworld” is also a solid ratings performer, as its most recent episode attracted 2.7 million viewers in the Live+3 (which includes three days of DVR and VOD usage) ratings.
— Westworld (@WestworldHBO) November 14, 2016
“I wanted to wait a few weeks to make sure the ratings held up and were doing well,” Bloys said. “All three seem to be connecting critic-wise, with audiences and culturally. They’re doing exactly what you want a show to do, which is getting fans excited.”
According to HBO, when all platforms (including HBO Go, HBO Now and on-demand) are included, “Westworld” is delivering a gross audience of 11.7 million viewers. “It puts ‘Westworld’ among the highest first-season shows we’ve ever had,” Bloys said.
“Divorce” and “Insecure” have attracted smaller audiences, but have quickly also become new signature shows for the pay cable network.
“Westworld,” which aired ten episodes in Season 1, centers on a futuristic Western theme park made up of human-like robots with artificial intelligence. The show, based on the Michael Crichton film, comes from executive producers Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk. Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro and Shannon Woodward are among the stars.
“What’s great about ‘Westworld’ is it’s a broad based hit, it brings up provocative questions, it’s extremely well-acted and well shot,” Bloys said. “It’s cinematic, it feels big.”
“Divorce,” which also received 10 episodes in its first season, represents “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker’s series return to HBO. She plays Frances, a woman undergoing a complicated break with her husband (Thomas Haden Church). Molly Shannon, Talia Balsam and Tracy Letts also star. Sharon Horgan created the show, and she executive produces with Parker, Paul Simms, Alison Benson and Aaron Kaplan.
“I think a show like ‘Divorce’ not only brings back one of our favorite pieces of talent, Sarah Jessica Parker, but it also explores an adult subject like divorce in an honest and unflinching way,” Bloys said.
— INSECUREHBO (@insecurehbo) November 14, 2016
Issa Rae is behind “Insecure,” in which she stars as a young African-American woman navigating friendships, relationships and career in Los Angeles. Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Lisa Joyce also star; Rae executive produces with Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. Larry Wilmore co-created “Insecure” with Rae and is now a consultant on the show, which produced eight episodes in Season 1.
“‘Insecure’ is a thrill to have on the air because it’s a brand new voice,” Bloys said. “I love when we’re able to introduce somebody with something to say who you haven’t necessarily seen before.”
Rae also has a first-look producing deal at HBO, which she signed this summer. “We’re hoping there are people who she thinks have a voice like hers or as distinct as hers,” Bloys added.