Vinyl, HBO’s current underachiever, has so far cost the company a fortune.
Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl has all the makings of a hit show: drugs, murder, and loud music. But it isn’t a hit. Even though the second episode improved upon the somehow both bloated and thin two-hour premiere, ratings for Vinyl have been stale. For a cable network like HBO, that’s not necessarily a huge issue. When combined with how much they’ve already dished out for Vinyl, however, potential issues begin to crop up.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has spent 100 million dollars on Vinyl. That is a major chunk of change — even more so when combined with its lacking ratings. Big names like Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese do not come cheap, but it can be assumed that HBO thought that Vinyl would be a hit at the time.
This could explain why HBO was so quick to renew it for a second season. HBO needs Vinyl to be a hit; it would be too much of a lose if it wasn’t. To that end, the series needs time to grow. Regardless of the financial situation, it’s a wise move to give Vinyl some more time.
Most shows on standard networks aren’t given the luxury of being allowed to grow. HBO can afford that time, and in the case of Vinyl, it doesn’t really have all that much of a choice.
The only sizable hit that HBO has in the drama department is Game of Thrones, which has become one of the hugest shows of all time. It’s unlikely that HBO will be able to replicate that in the near future, but they do at least need to get more semi-hits under their belt, especially with The Leftovers ending after season three.