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By Sarah Storkin
Observer Staff Writer 

Winning Time Series About the Showtime Lakes Surprises With Cancellation After Second Season Finale

The series was pulled after the Celtics defeat the Lakers. The Lakers went on to defeat their Boston rivals in the 1985-6 season.


September 21, 2023

Paula Abdul from Observer File Footage.

After the 7th and final show of its second season, HBO announced that it would n ot renew the Showtime Lakers documentary for a third season.

The show centers on the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team and their rise in the early 1980s. The first season dramatized Jerry Buss' first year as the team's owner and Magic Johnson's rookie year, 1979-80. The second season is set during the four-year period after that.

Twitter posters protested the way the series was pulled after the Celtics defeat the Lakers. The Lakers went on to defeat their Boston rivals in the 1985-6 season.

Magic Johnson filming a PSA against drunk driving.

In an interview conducted with The Hollywood Reporter August, showrunner Richardson shared hopes for a third season, given how the finale plays out. "Obviously, you see how the season ends. So we would love to have, at the very least, even though we can do this for years, one more season so that we can get the Lakers winning against the Celtics. We don't want to end with the Celtics winning. That's awful," she told THR. "I think people have realized this season that if you just watch the show instead of judging the show without seeing it, it's a great show. It's a well-written show with unbelievable performances. And you don't have to be a basketball fan to enjoy it. I think that what Jeff was trying to say is that he just hopes that people find this little gem that's out there, because it really is a great show and I'm proud to be a part of it."

The show was created by Borenstein and Jim Hecht, based on the book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman.

When the series premiered, it was met with criticism from Lakers as well as former Lakers coach and general manager Jerry West, who was portrayed in the series by Jason Clarke. At the time, West fired off a legal letter to Warner Bros. Discovery, HBO and series producer Adam McKay demanding a retraction, an apology and unspecified damages for the "false and defamatory portrayal." West argued, via his attorney, that those who'd watched his portrayal in Winning Time now believe him to be an "out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic."


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