5:29pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Ballers,' Starring Dwayne Johnson, to End With Season 5 on HBO
HBO's Ballers is nearing its end zone.
The football comedy, starring and executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, will end with its upcoming fifth season. The final run will debut Sunday on the premium cable network. Sources say producers crafted season five with an endgame in mind as a decision on the conclusion of the series was made months in advance.
Johnson wrote about the show coming to an end on Instagram, sharing, "My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rockin' with us every season."
Created by Stephen Levinson and executive produced by Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg and Andy Garcia, Ballers ranks as HBO's most-watched scripted comedy and, in season four, averaged 834,000 total same-day viewers. Rob Corddry, John David Washington and Omar Miller star alongside Johnson.
Ballers marked the latest collaboration for HBO with Levinson and Wahlberg, whose credits also include the premium cabler's Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, How to Make It in America and In Treatment.
The decision to end Ballers comes as HBO is at a pivotal point in the Peak TV world. The cabler is expanding scripted originals in a bid to better compete with outlets like Netflix and other forthcoming streaming offerings from Apple, Disney and Comcast. HBO's originals (along with the Friends library) will also be the backbone of parent company WarnerMedia's streaming offering, HBO Max. That platform is set to launch later this year in beta, with originals slated to debut in 2020.
Ballers becomes the latest HBO scripted series to sign off in 2019, joining the mega-hits Game of Thrones and Veep as well as Divorce and the forthcoming final seasons of David Simon's The Deuce and Mike Judge's Silicon Valley. HBO on Sunday launched the Danny McBride comedy The Righteous Gemstones, which marked its best comedy debut since the actor-writer-producer's 2016 series Vice Principals. The cabler's comedy roster includes the recently renewed Los Espookys, Room 104, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Mrs. Fletcher, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Insecure, Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Run, Barry and High Maintenance. The latter five series will debut/return in 2020.
For his part, Johnson continues to star in the Fast & Furious film franchise, whose latest installment, Hobbs & Shaw, has grossed more than $440 million worldwide to date. He next reprises his role in the Jumanji sequel and Jungle Cruise. On the TV side, Johnson most recently hosted the NBC competition series The Titan Games.
See Johnson's full Instagram post below.
My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rockin’ with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped create and sustain a platform for other actors to have the OPPORTUNITY to work hard, grow and become household names. To me, the opportunity Ballers created for so many others, is the real gold of our show. I love you, I thank you and enjoy our final season of BALLERS. This SUNDAY on @HBO. @SevenBucksProd
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