AT&T’s WarnerMedia will retain broadcast and streaming rights to Warner Bros. TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory through 2028.
The pocket-to-pocket transaction means the Chuck Lorre-produced comedy will be available on HBO Max when the streaming platform launches next year. The show’s 279 episodes will also keep repeating on linear channel TBS.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sourcing, the total value of the agreement is worth $600 million.
The Big Bang Theory was a hit prime-time series on CBS for 12 seasons.
“Few shows define a generation and capture mainstream zeitgeist like The Big Bang Theory,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer, in a statement. ”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 WSJ, Lorre is said to be pleased with the outcome of the in-house deal, believing the show was licensed at fair market value.
Venerable sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory have become valuable chips in a heated battle in which upstarts including HBO Max, Disney+, Comcast/NBCU and Apple TVB+ are crowding into the streaming market to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
Notably, WarnerMedia pulled all 236 episodes of Warner Bros. TV series Friends off Netflix, starting in 2020, and will put them on HBO Max. NBCU did the same with The Office, moving the show from Netflix to its own streaming platform, also set to launch next year.
On Monday, Netflix announced the acquisition of Sony Pictures TV classic Seinfeld, starting in 2021.