‘Westworld’ Stars Still Getting Paid for Canceled Season 5
According to Deadline, core Westworld cast members will still be paid for the now-canceled fifth season because they had “pay-or-play deals” that networks often deploy to lock down a TV show’s cast for another season, even before network execs decide whether to renew or cancel the show.
The cast members listed on HBO’s Westworld homepage are Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and Ed Harris — who negotiated raises to the $250,000-per-episode range after Season 2 — and Aaron Paul — who joined the series in its third season. Tessa Thompson and James Marsden also star.
The site also notes that the cast’s Season 5 salaries total $10 million to $15 million, but HBO would have spent $80 million or more to film another season of the FX-heavy series.
HBO reportedly canceled Westworld after weighing the show’s viewership with its cost, much like how Netflix makes renew-cancel decisions. According to TV Series Finale, Westworld had averages of 1.8 million viewers for Season 1, 1.6 million for Season 2, 0.8 million for Season 3, and 0.3 million for Season 4.
Co-creator Lisa Joy told TV Insider in August that she and the other Westworld producers planned on a fifth season “to have Dolores [Wood’s character], who was at the mercy of everyone else’s stories, finally tell her own story.”
But HBO announced the show’s cancellation on Friday, November 4. “Over the past four seasons, Lisa and [co-creator Jonathan Nolan] have taken viewers on a mind-bending odyssey, raising the bar at every step,” the network said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
Kilter Films, Joy and Nolan’s production company, added: “We’ve been privileged to tell these stories about the future of consciousness — both human and beyond — in the brief window of time before our AI overlords forbid us from doing so.”
Westworld, Seasons 1-4, Streaming now, HBO Max