HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ scores disappointing viewing figures

Hopes were high for HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. The show takes us back to the 1980s glory days of the Los Angeles Lakers, showing us the drama on and off the court. Don’t Look Up and The Big Short‘s Adam McKay executive produces and directs, with a cast including John C. Reilly, Jason Clarke, and Adrien Brody.

Sadly, early figures indicate this may be an air ball for HBO. Deadline is reporting that Winning Time‘s much-hyped premiere episodes scored roughly 900,000 viewers across linear viewing and streaming. The show took the spot of Euphoria, which recently wrapped up its second season with regular viewing figures at around the two million mark.

These aren’t disastrous numbers, though they’ll be disappointing for the network considering the glowing reviews, lavish budget, and gigantic cast.

John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss & Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson in 'Winning Time'
John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss & Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson

Theories are already being formulated as to why Winning Time isn’t doing better. One of the most probable is that any drama about a specific team is inevitably going to turn off fans of their opponents. After all, despite the 1980s Lakers being generally recognized as one of the best teams in NBA history, it’s unlikely that any Clippers fans are going to tune in to watch a tribute to their rivals.

However, it’s still early days yet and HBO will be hoping that positive word-of-mouth has an effect on the remaining nine episodes. It’s difficult to deny that it doesn’t capture the specifics of 1980s excess, and it’s obvious that a ton of research has been done to ensure that everything we see on court makes sense for the era.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Laker’s Dynasty airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.