HBO has had a number of setbacks recently some of its high-profile series, including Westworld delaying production, the scrapping of David Fincher’s Utopia series, and the setbacks causing the Lewis and Clark miniseries to start again from scratch. And now, there seems to be another one to add to the list. The highly-anticipated Vinyl, executive produced by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese, debuted earlier this year to disappointing numbers because, well, it was generally pretty disappointing. Now, we’re hearing that showrunner Terence Winter (who has a long history with HBO through his series like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire) is leaving the production over creative differences.
Deadline reported the news of the shakeup earlier, saying that Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) will be taking over as showrunner (and also acting as an executive producer), along with another new executive producer in Max Borenstein, who recently developed Fox’s ill-fated Minority Report TV series.
The show has already been renewed for a second season, despite the issues with its first, and it’s unclear if the series will take on a new direction, or just try and overcome the problems with the first. Unfortunately, one of the main issues is with the main character, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) who fails to be interesting or compelling as a hot-headed and self-destructive record executive, a kind of pale imitation of the kind antihero leads that Winter has in the past captured so well.
And though it boasts a solid soundtrack, Vinyl has plenty of other issues of plot, pacing, and more that make it easy to leave behind in such a crowded TV season. Fans may be hopeful that Burns and Borenstein can help right the ship, but HBO surely is, given that they not only sunk a ton of money into the series, but currently have only one marquee drama in Game of Thrones. The Leftovers (never a huge hit, though critically it gained some appreciation in the last half of its second season) will be entering its final season this year and … that’s it. HBO has a few other dramas on the horizon, but it’s a far cry from their former position of having a drama series to anchor every season.
HBO said in a statement that,
“As we head into the second season of Vinyl, we have decided it is an appropriate time to make a change in the creative direction of the show. We have enjoyed a longtime partnership with Terry Winter at HBO on projects from The Sopranos to Boardwalk Empire to Vinyl, and we look forward to our next collaboration with him. We are pleased to welcome Scott Z. Burns, executive producer and showrunner, and Max Borenstein, executive producer, as the new team helming the show.”
Some very interesting developments. Are there any Vinyl fans in the house worried about its future? Or did you (like me) start out with it and try to like it, but ultimately gave up? Does the news make you want to return next season?
Vinyl airs Sunday nights on HBO.