‘Boardwalk Empire’ Will End with Season 5

Published 7 months ago by

Michael K. Williams Steve Buscemi and Shea Wigham in Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Boardwalk Empire Will End with Season 5

After coming off what was arguably its best season to date, series creator Terrence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street) and HBO have decided they will bring the 1920s-set bootlegging drama Boardwalk Empire to its conclusion with season 5 this fall.

The announcement was made during the network’s TCA panel yesterday, during which it also announced the start dates of returning programs like Game of Thrones, Veep, and the sophomore season of Vice, as well as upcoming programs and movies such as Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers and The Normal Heart from American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy.

That announcement was then followed up when president of programming at HBO, Michael Lombardo very succinctly said: “It has been an incredible honor to bring this powerful and groundbreaking series to our subscribers. Terry Winter has created one for the ages.”

Bobby Cannavale in Boardwalk Empire A Man a Plan Boardwalk Empire Will End with Season 5

While there was no specific reason given for why the series was ending with season 5, it’s safe to say it wasn’t for lack of performance. Boardwalk Empire, though down somewhat in the ratings with season 4, was still a strong performer, as it came in behind the aforementioned Game of Thrones and the soon-to-be-ending True Blood, in terms of overall viewership. And while some of the larger awards eluded the series during its run, Bobby Cannavale did manage to pick up a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his portrayal of lunatic gangster Gyp Rosetti in season 3.

Oddly enough, Cannavale might wind up being one of the primary reasons Boardwalk is ending its run after five seasons.  Although there has been no official announcement yet, one of the prevailing theories as to why Winter and HBO came to such an amicable (and seemingly sudden) agreement on when to close out the show is that they are both eager to begin production on another period drama: The ’70s-set rock ‘n’ roll series Winter has cooked up with Boardwalk executive producer and Wolf of Wall Street director, Martin Scorsese, and producer Mick Jagger.

As reported, Cannavale has been linked to the lead role, in what was formerly titled History of Music, playing recording executive and lover of illicit things, Richie Finestra. With a leading man in negotiations, it’s understandable to think the project has become a primary concern for the network. At any rate, we’re awaiting information from HBO regarding the status of this program.

Without mentioning future plans, Winter had this to say about the decision to see his current series to the door:

We’re thrilled to get the go-ahead for a fifth season of Boardwalk Empire. 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.

boardwalk empire ratings Boardwalk Empire Will End with Season 5

For audiences, the primary concern now is how Winter and his creative team plan to wrap things up. At the end of season 4, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) was eager to throw in the towel, Eli (Shea Whigham) had been exiled to Chicago, and Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) retreated to Maryland to mourn his daughter and pick up the pieces of his business that’d been left in tatters, thanks in large part to Jeffrey Wright’s criminally good performance as Dr. Valentin Narcisse.

Though it’s rooted in history, and has to adhere to fact when it comes to certain characters like Al Capone (Stephen Graham), Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), and Gaston Bullock Means (Stephen Root), Winter is technically free to end many of the other stories in any way he sees fit. When you look at it, there are as many possible approaches as there are stories still needing to be wrapped up, so the scope of any potential final storyline will likely depend on how many episodes HBO orders.


Boardwalk Empire season 5 will air on HBO sometime in the fall.

Source: HBO

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  1. WOW, everything I watch has already ended or is ending this or next year.
    I’m going to have to start checking out some more new shows because pretty soon my TV watching schedule is going to have some big holes.

  2. Nooo moooree buusceeemee

    • Sounds like Bollywood is more your style.

  3. Shame. Sure, it has been lacking continuity from season to season and it does falter significantly when both trying to balance multiple storylines whilst asking the audience to remain interested in all of the characters, but I always enjoyed it (I am aware how backhanded that compliment probably reads, but I do enjoy it and always have done).

    The one thing then I do not want them to do here is make it about Nucky trying to exit this lifestyle. He is neither anti-hero nor sympathetic to the audience. The responsibility of consequence is the key here.

  4. It’s a shame really but I also get it. The series really hasn’t felt the same since Michael Pitt left. It’s had it’s moments that was great but for myself, I just didn’t really enjoy it as much as I did in season 1-2. Also with leading into the Capone era, there could be some issues in the way of keeping the story interesting with Nucky. I hope though that they continue with this type of programming because I love what they brought to the table

  5. Probably my favorite show on TV right now – I love it. I feel it has at least one more season in it but honestly I’d rather see it go out on a high note as opposed to dragging it on. 5 solid seasons is good.

  6. Real shame this although I feel like the 5th and final season will be stunning.

  7. So as Boardwalk consolidates it’s status as the best show on tv, it’s gets cancelled.

    Whilst Game of Bores will likely make it to 7-8 seasons.

    Wait a go HBO.

    • “Game of Bores”? Do you know anything about the story, or just what you have managed to catch on TV while waiting for Cathouse to come on? Boardwalk’s story, while engaging and rooted in history, doesn’t hold a candle to the world, characters, and story that GRRM has created for us.

      • @Nearly

        Er.. no I judge Game of Thrones for the television show that it is. Right now into it’s 4th season it’s lacking focus, any sort of clear narrative, multiple characters that aren’t pivotal to the story.

        Boardwalk did suffer from this in it’s first year, but has grown more and stuck more to it’s key characters , developing them better progressing the story so that now everyone involved is important to the overall story.

        Stop being defensive and accept the fact that Boardwalk is superior to Game of Thrones which needs to step it up badly this year.

        • So you haven’t actually been paying attention to GOT then? I ask because the multiple storylines are pretty clear and easy to follow, the narrative is obvious and the multiple characters all have a purpose. It has to build to something instead of throwing everything out there in one season.

  8. no.No.NO.NO!NO!!!

    I just discovered the show last year! (Season 4).


  9. I’m devastated to hear that one of the best tv dramas ever is ending after only it’s 5th season while shows like homeland go on n not only that, they clean all the awards not that I care about them but may be had BE won any major awards the creators could’ve gone for at least 2 more seasons. what a shame. It’s a god damn shame

  10. The best programme on TV, gripped from season 1 to current day! Love it

  11. From the first season they basically took this one section of the original book and basically went way beyond the book. The seasons that followed were Boardwalk Empire in name only and really had nothing to do with the book.

    The direction they’ve been heading would seem like a great spin off series called The Roaring Twenties or such. We know a lot of the bootleg stories from back then, but they could continue to make stuff up just like Boardwalk and the Untouchables (Read Get Capone….It shows Elliot Ness as a very minor character and not the great crime fighter TV and movies made him out to be….What a let down).

    I guess the bottom line is if the shows creator has lost interest, then maybe it’s for the best…After all…So many of the primary characters are either killed off, jailed, or moved out. The last season will have Nucky and a host of new characters I would think

    • I think it’s a little of both in which maybe the heads of the show lost some interest as well as a lot of the viewers. I love the show and all but to say the quality is the same as S1-2 to me isn’t valid. I just don’t get that “WOW, can’t wait for the next episode” from seasons 3-4 like I did in Seasons 1 and 2. I would have been nice to see the Capone storyline because I have always been fascinated by his character more so than Nuckys but it is what it is. I am not all that upset by it like I would have been if they all of sudden announced that GOT was ending next season or a series like TWD. I wasn’t also upset like I was when they announced that Spartacus was heading into its last season. This show just hasn’t had the same excitement feel since Michael Pitt left, IMO

  12. This has been the single best series in a long time!!! Cannot believe HBO will emd with only 5 seasons!! Love this series!!

  13. So, I can finally dump HBO. Hooray! Boardwalk Empire has been the only truly great show in their entire roster, and now that it will be ending, so will my subscription to HBO. I can only imagine who comes up with these decisions to end the shining star in an otherwise boring line-up of programs, and the repeat showings of the most mediocre movies seemingly 100′s of times. Yup, bye bye HBO.

    • i agree, some of these newer shows suck moose dung… HBO will be losing viewers by the second…

    • game of thrones is still there

  14. Best show going.

  15. I anxiously await Season 5 of Boardwalk. I have never enjoyed a series more. I adore “Chalky”. Please don’t kill him off. Please make sure Dr Narcisse get what’s coming to him..he is low down. I loved Richard.

  16. No one has mentioned the great nostalgic music they have infused in this show as well as the choregraph dance scene. Love this show and cain’t wait for next season!

  17. Let me start off by saying that if you don’t have some what of a general understanding of the American mob then do your research. The reason being Bugsy Siegel is the kid that annihilates almost everyone in the hotel in tabor heights in the third season and Meyer lansky, Charlie Luciano all make up what we know as murder inc. luckys rise to power and the restructuring of the mob into the commission was not until maranzano the rival of joe Masseria gave lucky the green light which is in 1931 so therefore we have the major 7 year jump those three characters Meyer, Siegel, and lucky are the most infamous and most important characters in this story besides Nucky. I know this season is going to be a good one so have some faith in the amazing writer Terrance winter he always pulls of great stuff. But there are events that have been speculated like the murder of al capones brother infront of the electric company which is factual but the details of what happened are not.

  18. man this is bull… GoT is awesome and True Blood is over this season…. these other new shows IMO suck and are not even close to interesting… i guess HBO cant win all the time with their stuff…

  19. Please do not end this series !!!! This is the best series I have watched !! We will end HBO afterwards !!!

  20. Please do not end this series !!!! This is the best series I have watched !! We will end HBO afterwards !!! I love B.W.E

  21. All I can say is that I am devastated! SF

  22. Very disappointed. I’ve loved this show since the start. All the actors are great!!

  23. I am now forced to read books on Sunday night’s after this series is over. Aaaahhhhhhh! Nooooooo! Spinoff please!

  24. Newsroom is ending as well. replacements will be a tall order!

  25. Hell on Wheels is back August 2…

    And Walking Dead in October..

  26. My fav show by a landslide…sad day to hear this news. Thanks for bringing that era alive for me. Huge void left in my imagination.

  27. Absolutely gutted, this is such a great series. It is one of them rare series that does things unexpected, for example when jimmy died. I was convinced from day one of this series that we as an audience where watching the rise of Jimmy, we got behind him and saw the mob world through his eyes. Them suddenly he was killed by the guy he saw as the closest thing to a father.. I thought it would be poor after that as we lost our “eyes” so to speak. But no, it went on to produce two thrilling seasons with twists and unexpected and exciting cars cheers coming into the fold.. The last season arguably being one of the most thrilling so far.. We start to see Al Capone really start to man up and become who we know he becomes, we see lucky luciano start to become more established etc etc.. Just a massive shame that they are cutting it so short when there are so many more stories to tell in this historical mob world.. 8 episodes is insult to injury if true also….. Wounded..

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