Dwayne Johnson Thanks Fans After HBO Says Ballers Is Ending
This Sunday night will be a full house of all-new programming on HBO, with episodes of the sophomore hit Succession and Danny McBride's recent debut The Righteous Gemstones leading into the Season 5 premiere of the sports-centric Ballers. Curiously, HBO chose this week to announce that Ballers will be ending with this final season, with star Dwayne Johnson taking to social media to also share the news with fans.
Here's how The Rock worded things with his Instagram post:
Created by Steven Levinson, who also served as the series' showrunner, Ballers brought its stress-filled, high-status drama to HBO back in 2015. It remains one of the only major fictional TV shows allowed to use official NFL teams, logos and players within its storytelling. With the series ending this year, it'll be interesting to see whether the league decides to promote itself in this way elsewhere.
Ballers was also the first fictional TV show to lure Dwayne Johnson away from the highly successful film career that was spawned from his WWE superstardom. (2015 was also the year that Johnson starred in Furious 7 and San Andreas.) As Johnson put it in his Instagram video, it's not like movie stars were all over TV just yet, though True Detective had arguably kicked off the megastar-in-an-anthology-series trend in early 2014.
Not that joining Ballers was only about multimedia success for Dwayne Johnson. The show happened to bring together several elements that the actor and athlete was enthused to work with. In his words:
There was definitely a keen parallel to be found between Dwayne Johnson's NFL past and that of Spencer Strasmore, even though the latter's career was more celebrated in comparison. But I don't think any of Johnson's fans are overtly disappointed that he never became an NFL or CFL great. He never would have became The Rock, never would have asked if anyone could smell what he was cooking. And, of course, there wouldn't have been a time for him to take on Ballers or become the highest-earning actor in Hollywood.
To be expected, Dwayne Johnson was more smiles than anything else in the Instagram video seen below, although there does seem to be a touch of stinging disappointment lurking behind it all. Check it out.
While no real reasons were give for why Ballers was cancelled after Season 5, it's possible that the show's dwindling numbers and fledgling critical appeal had something to do with it. Ballers experienced its biggest ratings in Season 3, when it was paired up with Game of Thrones Season 7. Understandably, Season 4 wasn't nearly as successful in Live + Same Night viewing, and Season 5 likely won't reach those levels either.
The final season will center on Spencer's goal to retire get thwarted when he gets an offer to become a team owner. Ballers will welcome back guest stars such as Russell Brand, Carl McDowell, Jazmyn Simon, Jay Glazer, Richard Schiff, Steven Weber and Emayatzy Corinealdi, among others. First-time guest stars include Catherine Haena Kim, Odell Beckham Jr., Melvin Gordon, Rick Fox, Mikey Alfred, Randy Couture, DeAndre Hopkins, Derwin James, Von Miller, Malcolm Jenkins and Dante Fowler, Jr. Lots of NFL players in the mix.
Ballers Season 5 will premiere on HBO on Sunday, April 25, at 10:30 p.m. ET. Now let's see if Tyrese Gibson has anything to say about it.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
By Adam Holmes
By Mick Joest
By Mick Joest
By Megan Behnke