Upcoming streaming service HBO Max lands streaming rights to one of the decade’s most popular comedies: The Big Bang Theory. The CBS juggernaut concluded this past season and ended its run with over 18 million viewers. It centered on Dr. Sheldon Cooper and his group of friends, including roommate Leonard Hofstadter and neighbor Penny. The series finale found Penny and Leonard married and expecting and Sheldon and his wife, Amy, winning a Nobel Prize. In addition to being beloved by viewers, The Big Bang Theory picked up many accolades during its time on air, including four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series.
News broke last month that HBO Max was looking to acquire Big Bang Theory for streaming. At the time, it was hoping to pair The Big Bang Theory with fellow Chuck Lorre show Two and a Half Men. That show went off the air in 2015 but ran for an impressive 12 seasons, outlasting star Charlie Sheen’s departure. The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men were together expected to cost HBO Max as much as $1.5 billion. The potential deal was noteworthy not only for the high price tag but also that neither show had ever made more than a few episodes available at one time.
However, now HBO Max has purchased the streaming rights to The Big Bang Theory on its own for an unknown amount of money. The show will be available on the service when it debuts in spring 2020. In addition to streaming rights for the series, WarnerMedia, which owns HBO Max, will also continue to air reruns on TBS through 2028. Both HBO Max and the creatives behind The Big Bang Theory are happy with the deal. Lorre released a statement on behalf of the show, saying in part, “…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.” Meanwhile, head of WarnerMedia Entertainment Robert Greenblatt called the series, “one of the biggest shows on broadcast television of the last decade.”
As was announced this past July, HBO Max also has the streaming rights to another comedy giant: Friends. It will also feature the Arrowverse shows, Doctor Who, and the original British version of The Office, in addition to several other existing series. The new streamer will also branch out into original content, with a spinoff of Gossip Girl and a Practical Magic prequel series. HBO Max will feature movies too and recently acquired the Steven Soderbergh and Meryl Streep collaboration Let Them All Talk. The streaming service will cost viewers a little more than HBO Now ($14.99/mo), though WarnerMedia hasn’t said exactly how much.
Securing streaming rights to The Big Bang Theory is another step in the right direction for HBO Max. By the time it launches, the service will be competing with new streamers Disney+, Apple TV+, and possibly NBC’s recently announced Peacock, which launches April 2020. That doesn’t include existing streamers like Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access. It helps that, by the time HBO Max debuts, The Big Bang Theory will have been off the air for nearly a year, just long enough for viewers to feel nostalgic for it. Streamers will have to work hard in the coming months to have an impact, making acquiring The Big Bang Theory a good call for HBO Max.