In a somewhat unusual agreement, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that HBO Max will stream the comedy series “Abbott Elementary” along with Hulu, Disney+’s sister streaming service. The two streaming giants will now share the hit TBEN show on their competing services.
Hulu already has priority streaming rights over TBEN programming, so the Disney platform will continue to release episodes the day after it airs on the television network. Once a season of “Abbott Elementary” ends, it will appear on the HBO Max platform.
HBO Max subscribers can stream the entire first season (13 episodes) of “Abbott Elementary” on August 20.
The reason behind the move is to give new viewers who may not have a Hulu subscription a chance to see the show before the next season starts on the rival service. So when Season 2 hits Hulu on September 22, HBO Max subscribers will have to wait for the finale until it gets to the service. Those who want to see the Season 2 premiere on September 21 can turn to TBEN at 9 p.m. ET.
This deal is unlike most streaming packages. While deals like this helped Netflix build its robust content library, it’s different because “Abbott Elementary” is produced by both Warner Bros. Television as Disney-owned 20th Television (formerly 20th Century TBEN Television.)
Created by and starring Quinta Brunson – who rose to social media fame on Vine in 2014 – the workplace comedy “Abbott Elementary” premiered in December 2021 and examines a group of teachers at an understaffed and underfunded public school in Philadelphia trying to help their students succeed even though the cards are stacked against them.
The show recently made Emmy history when Brunson became the first black woman to receive three comedy nominations and is the youngest black actress ever to be nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress category. “Abbott Elementary” received a total of seven Emmy nominations. Hulu also reached a milestone of 58 Emmy nominations, compared to 26 last year.
The overall boom in streaming and the launch of well-enhanced platforms have created a lot of demand for pre-sold titles on the buy side. The competition between services has also created some really awkward situations.
Netflix is known to grab big titles like “The Office” and “Friends”, which have now switched to other streaming houses. Thanks to a 2017 deal, “Schitt’s Creek” moved to Netflix from Pop TV, a pay-TV channel owned by Paramount. In April, Hulu revealed that the show and all of its six brilliantly written seasons will be streaming on October 3.
The streaming wars continue to escalate and NBC Universal, like any other media company, is trying to bolster its content library for its Peacock service. The company ended its licensing deal with Hulu in March and took back programs like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Voice.” Hulu still owns the rights to older titles such as ‘Law & Order SVU’, ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ’30 Rock’.
In February, Paramount Global acquired “South Park” from competitor HBO Max in a $500 million deal. The long-running comedy will stream exclusively on Paramount+ in 2025. “Harry Potter” will also be leaving service on August 30. The film franchise appeared on Peacock in early July.
When NBCUniversal brought the streaming rights to “Yellowstone” in 2020, the show was brought to Peacock. Although Paramount owns the rights, Paramount+ was not launched until next year, which is why the company is not licensed to stream it on the platform. You can watch it on the linear channel Paramount Network.
Yesterday, Comcast released its second quarter results showing that Peacock’s subscriber base has stalled to 13 million subscribers and losses have increased to $467 million.
Hulu (Disney), HBO Max (Warner Bros. Discovery), and Paramount will release their quarterly earnings next week.