WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming service just got a huge leg up on its competition, particularly when it comes to the dedicated sitcom audiences. The upcoming service already paid up for the rights to stream all 10 seasons of Friends, which fueled Netflix's decision to shell out around $500 million for Seinfeld. HBO Max is getting the last laugh, though, as it has now gained the streaming rights to the most popular sitcom of the decade, The Big Bang Theory.
Unlike Friends and Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory has never been available to stream online anywhere in its entirety. That will change with the launch of HBO Max, expected sometime next year. WarnerMedia signed a five year deal to own the streaming rights to Big Bang, and extended its syndication deal with TBS through 2028.
"Few shows define a generation and capture mainstream zeitgeist like The Big Bang Theory," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer. "We're thrilled that HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home for this comedy juggernaut when we launch in the spring of 2020. This show has been a hit virtually around the globe, it's one of the biggest shows on broadcast television of the last decade, and the fact that we get to bring it to a streaming platform for the first time in the U.S. is a coup for our new offering."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal for The Big Bang Theory's streaming rights has shattered previous comedy streaming records and could easily be worth billions. For comparison's sake, the contract for Friends cost $425 million over the same five year time period.
"I am forever grateful to have been part of something as extraordinary as The Big Bang Theory," said Lorre. "All of us — Bill Prady, Steven Molaro, Steve Holland, and the amazing writing staff, cast and crew, recognize that 12 seasons of laughter is a gift to be cherished. And now we are extremely excited that TBBT will be joining the HBO Max lineup and be available to both existing and future fans of the show. Laughter has legs!"
"It's not every day you get to extend the run of a cultural phenomenon that reaches nearly 35 million viewers on TBS alone every month," said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max and president of TBS, TNT and truTV. "Through HBO Max and TBS, fans will have access to this beloved comedy for generations to come."
Is the addition of The Big Bang Theory enough to make you consider signing up for HBO Max? Are you still going to stick with Netflix when these other services launch? Let us know in the comments!