HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ to End After Fifth Season

Boardwalk Empire Ratings Down

Pay cabler also plans to air Lisa Cholodenko miniseries 'Olive Kitteridge' later this year

The end of the “Boardwalk” is approaching.

HBO announced at its Television Critics Assn. press tour session in Pasadena Thursday that “Boardwalk Empire,” the 1920s period drama top lined by Steve Buscemi, will come to a close at the end of its fifth season, which is slated to debut this fall.

Also Thursday, HBO unveiled confirmed plans to air a miniseries directed by Lisa Cholodenko, “Olive Kitteridge,” later this year.

“Boardwalk” has been a key player in the recent history of HBO. The show’s 2010 debut came on the heels of a series of disappointments for the network following the end of the groundbreaking “Sopranos” in 2007.

The series, created by “Sopranos” alum Terence Winter and championed by Martin Scorsese (who directed the pilot), has been overshadowed during its run by buzzier shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland” and “Mad Men,” but “Boardwalk” nonetheless has been an internal favorite of HBO brass.

“It has been an incredible honor to bring this powerful and groundbreaking series to our subscribers,” said HBO programming prez Michael Lombardo. “Terry Winter has created one for the ages.”

“We’re thrilled to get the go-ahead for a fifth season of ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ” said Winter. “After much discussion with my creative team and HBO, we’ve decided to wrap up the series after such a great run and look forward to bringing it to a powerful and exciting conclusion.”

The series, which marked Scorsese’s first series directing and producing effort for the small screen, debuted on HBO in 2010 and has earned numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards during the past four seasons. It is exec produced by Winter, Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Tim Van Patten and Howard Korder.

Scorsese recruited Winter to script “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which has both of them on the awards trail this year. Winter is also developing a series for HBO set in the 1970s rock scene, also with Scorsese. That project, tentatively titled “The Long Play,” is also exec produced by Mick Jagger.

“Olive Kitteridge” is based on Elizabeth Stout’s book of the same name about a small town in New England rife with crime, tragedy and illicit affairs. Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray lead the cast. Jane Anderson adapted the script for Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone banner.

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  1. Angelika says:

    Well if you’re getting rid of Boardwalk Empire at least create a spinoff. Call it Chicago Empire.

  2. Fred says:

    Season 4 was a mess. Too many characters. Too many plot lines. I don’t really think the writers know what’s going to happen. The worst of it is Michael Shannon’s character. Seriously, no clue. It WAS a great show. Bobby Cannavale DESERVED that Emmy. He was mesmerizing. What changed? I won’t be tuning into season 5. I don’t care anymore

    • DME says:

      I agree. The first and second seasons were great! The third season was good but too many of the main characters, which made this series so enjoyable, were killed off leaving, for me, a great void. The series continued to stray from the ‘theme’ originally intended and at the end of Season 4 I was thoroughly disgusted. ‘Nucky’ again comes out of this season ‘clean’ while while so many of the other character’s lives are in a shambles. It is past time for this series to be over.

      • Moondog says:

        Couldn’t disagree more. I, for one, don’t mind losing major characters. As if the only deaths in a pseudo-realistic show should be anonymous bystanders and minor characters. Uh…no. Knowing that any beloved character could “pay the price” at any time adds a tension that other shows lack. And, if I’m not mistaken, the real Nucky Johnson didn’t come out “dirty” until the 1940s. Sure, Season 4 had some issues…no boardwalk, having Nucky start to mentor his nephew (a la Jimmy…a miscalculation on the writers side). But that can always be corrected going forward. With all the potential for the show still ahead (such as Eliot Ness vs Capone), losing it now is a major loss for fans and viewers. I wish it had at least gone on to Season 6

  3. JoelR says:

    Oh goody…we lose B.E. but get another season of GIRLS. Thanks HBO. Like everyone else, I want the show to go out on a high note (with TWELVE episodes…not eight) but this is still a premature loss.

  4. John Dwyer says:

    Major disappointment. . . EMPIRE certainly was the most interesting, riveting of the premium channel series. . . The writing, direction, acting, art direction – all of it was superb and set the standards the others strived to attain. Hard to believe HBO would pull the plug so soon on such an amazing series.

  5. rflairfan1 says:

    I would rather it go out on a high note. I was hoping for six seasons. 6 seems to be a magic number for some shows. I don’t mean six seasons and a movie either.

  6. Bryan Dowling says:

    NOOOOOOOO Theres so much story left to tell and were only mid way through the 20’s and we need to get all the way to the end of the 20’s when Elliot Ness is hunting Capone which could make for some riveting television and we may never get to see it now unless they skip 4 years or skim through the final years in the 5th Season which won’t be the same as I love all the story but I guess I don’t mind and it’s been a great run but I was hoping 7 Seasons but ah well I can live with it I guess.

  7. Alan H. Friedenthal says:

    So much garbage on the air (or cable) and now this horrendous news makes room for more garbage.

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