Three HBO shows, including Perry Mason, get a cautious update from the network’s head of drama. A legal drama led by Emmy winner Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason season 2 wrapped in April 2023. At the time, co-showrunner Michael Begler struck an optimistic tone about the show’s future and noted that there’s more story to tell. But as it stands, it’s one of several shows that HBO has yet to renew.


Francesca Orsi, HBO’s head of drama, spoke to Deadline about the status of Perry Mason season 3 and the future of Winning Time and The Gilded Age. Unlike Perry Mason, Winning Time and The Gilded Age have been renewed for a season 2. Orsi says their future beyond that is a conversation about budget versus viewership. Read her response below:

“At this point, we are having conversations regarding viewership relative to budget, but it’s not just a Perry Mason conversation. We’re just assessing various shows, what more we need to be making, what more we can make, what more we have, the return in life of a series. Of course, each show has a job to do, given the price tag that we give to it, and there’s a viewership. component, and there’s a critical response element to it and of course, the buzz nature of a show. It’s those elements that we are always keeping in mind and discussing relative to whether or not a show will continue.”

“That factors in for Perry Mason, for Winning Time, for instance, for Gilded Age, so we have to play everything out and see how well they do. But we’re really proud of Perry Mason and loved working with Team Downey and [showrunner] Michael Begler this season on the show. I’m really proud of what we delivered for Season 2.”

HBO’s Next Hit Could Already Exist

Willa, Connor, Roman, Kendall, and Shiv at Logan's funeral in Succession season 4

With Succession and the hitman comedy Barry ending, there’s been a question of what HBO’s next big hit could be. It’s a question that occurred after the endings of Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos. But even looking at Succession, the dark comedy wasn’t always at the center of the cultural conversation. At first, some critics dismissed it, and audiences weren’t quick to embrace it either.

That could mean that a show like Perry Mason, the NBA Lakers-focused sports drama Winning Time, or the historical dramedy Gilded Age could still potentially grow into a hit if it’s given the room and the space to grow. But even if that’s not the case, HBO has a long tradition of dramas that may not have been the biggest hits but gained an outsized legacy nonetheless. The Wire is a good example of this, as is Enlightened, a comedy that future White Lotus creator Mike White wrote with Big Little Lies star Laura Dern.

So even though a buzzy show like Euphoria is secure through its delays, smaller shows like Perry Mason, Winning Time, and The Gilded Age still fit neatly into HBO’s brand of prestige projects that appeal to different genres. Given that two of the three are returning for at least another round, hopefully, more of the network’s titles will have the same opportunity to evolve.

Source: Deadline

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