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The real-life Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs earlier this week, but their fictionalized, 1980s counterparts are advancing.
HBO has renewed its series about the Showtime-era Lakers, Winning Time, for a second season. The pickup comes midway through the show’s first season, which chronicles Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly) purchasing the team and Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s (Quincy Isaiah) rookie season in 1979-80.
“It’s been a thrill to bring Winning Time to life with [executive producers] Adam McKay, Max Borenstein, our phenomenal producing team, and this incredible cast,” said Francesca Orsi, executive vp HBO Programming, in a statement. “This series not only tells the riveting story of the Lakers’ rise, but is also a look back at a transformative era in basketball, celebrity, and the city of Los Angeles. We can’t wait to see how this team will tell the next chapter of this dynasty.”
HBO has also optioned Pearlman’s follow-up about the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant years of the Lakers, titled Three-Ring Circus, should the series go that far. (The current season has thus far only chronicled the 1979-80 season, which at that pace would put the early 2000s several seasons away.)
Winning Time is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. Borenstein and Jim Hecht co-created the series, which chronicles both the Lakers’ rise to the top of the basketball world and the way their on- and off-court showmanship helped usher in the modern NBA and the go-go 1980s.
Borenstein told The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top 5 podcast before the series premiered that he hoped to continue telling the story: “The idea of carrying forward a saga about this dynasty that is the kings of the city, being able to tell that story of the city and that era and moving into another era would be incredible. I hope we have opportunity to keep doing it.”
In addition to Reilly and Isaiah, the show’s cast includes Jason Clarke, Adrien Brody, Gaby Hoffmann, Tracy Letts, Jason Segel, Julianne Nicholson, Hadley Robinson, DeVaughn Nixon, Solomon Hughes, Tamera Tomakili, Brett Cullen, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Spencer Garrett, Sarah Ramos, Molly Gordon, Joey Brooks, Delante Desouza, Jimel Atkins, Austin Aaron and Jon Young, with Rob Morgan and Sally Field.
Borenstein serves as showrunner and executive produces with McKay (who directed the first episode), Kevin Messick of McKay’s Hyperobject Industries, Hecht, Rodney Barnes (who co-wrote nine of the season’s 10 episodes), Jason Shuman and Scott Stephens.
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