‘Succession’ Star Brian Cox Says Showtime’s ‘Billions’ Is “Past Its Sell-By Date”

‘Succession’ Star Brian Cox Says Showtime’s ‘Billions’ Is “Past Its Sell-By Date”

After helping Succession creator Jesse Armstrong avoid a Royal faux pas at the Emmys last night, the HBO show’s star may have committed one of his own per Hollywood’s unspoken etiquette.

Brian Cox was asked by the Times of London about a potential fifth season for the hit show, which last night won Best Drama from the TV Academy.

“I don’t know,” Cox responded. “No one’s had their contracts renewed. Who knows how long it will go on? We don’t want it to overstay its welcome, like [Showtime’s] Billions; that’s past its sell-by date. That will not happen with our show.”

Beyond the HBO-Showtime schadenfreude, Cox’s plainspoken appraisal of another show — especially one fronted by an actor as well-regarded as Paul Giamatti — goes against the (outwardly) genial stance most take in Hollywood. But Cox is not one to hold his tongue.

In his 2021 memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, the actor called Johnny Depp “overblown…overrated,” Ed Norton “a pain in the arse,” Steven Seagal “as ludicrous in real life as he appears on screen” and characterized Quentin Tarantino’s films as “all surface. Plot mechanics in place of depth.”

Cox later walked back the Depp comments, telling Deadline in a January interview, “Well, I just thought I had to be honest about who people are, and it’s only my opinion….And, I’ve had a lot of flak about disrespecting some and all that, and people clearly haven’t read the book and they think I’m having a go at Johnny Depp. Well, I’m not having a go at Johnny Depp. I don’t disrespect Johnny Depp. I think Johnny Depp has done some incredible work, but he’s … you know, I have my reservations.”

Billions was renewed earlier this year for a seventh season. Succession has been wildly successful — as last night’s Emmy wins attest — through its first three seasons. Its principals have remained cagey about Season 4, which has been “filming abroad,” according to Armstrong last night. Matthew Macfadyen, who won an Emmy on Monday for his portrayal of Tom Wambsgan, said that after last season’s family-backstabbing finale, in Season 4, “We pick up a little bit of time after the dust has sort of settled. Not very much though.”

“It’s a good ending, it sets up the story going forward,” teased the actor.

The big question is whether the upcoming season will be the show’s last. Succession’s Season 4 will debut in spring, Casey Bloys confirmed to Deadline on Monday.

It will be creator Jesse Armstrong’s decision when the show will wrap, Bloys reiterated, noting that Armstrong has not declared yet whether the series would go beyond Season 4.

Writer Georgia Pritchett told The Sunday Times earlier this year, “I think the maximum would be five seasons but possibly more like four,” she told the newspaper. “At this point [Armstrong] is saying only one more [season]. But that happens every time. We’ve got a good end in sight.”

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