The Big Bang Theory' to Show on New Streaming Service HBO Max
By Joe Flint
HBO Max, the new direct-to-consumer streaming service AT&T
Inc.'s WarnerMedia is launching next spring, has struck a deal for
streaming rights to reruns of the hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory,"
which ended a 12-year run on CBS in May.
Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. A person familiar with
the deal said the five-year agreement is worth close to $500
million. In addition, WarnerMedia's cable channel TBS has extended
its current deal for reruns of the show, making the total value of
the deal in the region of $600 million, another person with
knowledge of the matter said. HBO Max's streaming rights is for
U.S. rights only: Netflix Inc. has international rights to the
The sale of "The Big Bang Theory" is the latest in a series of
big deals for popular reruns as streaming services both existing
and planned battle for classic content. Episodes of hit shows often
retain their popularity years and decades after their initial run
and are seen as must-have programming.
On Monday, Netflix struck a deal--valued at more than $500
million, according to people familiar with the matter--for global
streaming rights to the 1990s NBC hit "Seinfeld." That acquisition
came after Netflix lost the streaming rights to two of its most
popular classic shows, "Friends" and "The Office."
HBO Max acquired streaming rights to the show "Friends" for $425
million for five years starting in 2020, people with knowledge of
the agreement said. A new streaming service being launched next
spring by Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal acquired streaming rights to
"The Office" for five years starting in 2021 in a pact valued at
$500 million, people familiar with that deal said.
While the value of "The Big Bang Theory" sale is higher than the
sale for "Friends," its per-episode fee is slightly lower. There
were 279 episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" compared with 236 of
As part of the sale, WarnerMedia's TBS Network, which currently
airs reruns of "The Big Bang Theory," extended its deal for cable
rights to the show through 2028. Under its current agreement, which
runs to 2024, TBS is paying about $1.5 million an episode for the
TBS was a major factor in determining how the sale of "The Big
Bang Theory" played out. The TBS contract for the show included a
provision that it couldn't be sold to a streaming service without
the network's blessing, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Warner Bros., which handled the sale, didn't shop the show to other
streaming services, a person close to the matter said.
Although the deal was done in-house between two WarnerMedia
units, both sides needed to make sure there was no "sweetheart"
deal or they would risk upsetting Chuck Lorre, the producer of "The
Big Bang Theory" and a hitmaker for the company for many years. His
other credits include "Two and a Half Men," "Young Sheldon" and
People close to the producer said the feeling is that fair
market value for the show was achieved given the challenges of the
Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and
direct-to-consumer called "The Big Bang Theory" one of the biggest
shows on broadcast television of the last decade. He said, "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."
Write to Joe Flint at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 17, 2019 08:14 ET (12:14 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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