The Streaming Wars rage on as Chuck Lorre enters the mix. WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service, HBO Max has been gathering up intellectual properties for its launch in 2020, and now it has turned its sights on two of network cable's most popular sitcoms. HBO Max is reportedly looking to spend over a billion dollars to acquire the rights to The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men.
It had previously been reported that WarnerMedia was hoping to get its hands on Big Bang for over $1 billion on its own, but now they hope to bundle it with the Kutcher-led sitcom for a deal worth an estimated $1.5 billion.
The Big Bang Theory ended this May after 12 seasons. It followed roommates and scientists Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter as they navigated the world of academics, Geekdom and relationships. Things got complicated when the waitress Penny moved in and started the long will-they-won't-they storyline with Johnny Galecki's Leonard.
The ensemble cast grew over the years to include their friends Raj, Howard, Amy and Bernadette. The enduring series saw years of nominations and win, cast strikes, and famous guest stars that included Bob Newhart, Summer Glau, Wil Wheaton, Mark Hamill, and Stephen Hawking. Riding on the show's success, CBS launched the spinoff series Young Sheldon that continues to pull in viewers.
Two and a Half Men also ran for 12 season, but shuffled through a couple of leading men. After Charlie Sheen's departure from the series in 2011, Ashton Kutcher took up the mantle as Walden Schmidt alongside Jon Cryer's Alan Harper and Angus T. Jones' Jake Harper. Two and a Half Men received mixed reviews throughout its run, but generally maintained its popularity until it ended in 2015.
Many shows have seen massive viewer boosts through streaming, leading to multi-year deals between networks and streaming services. Big Bang and Two and a Half Men, however, have managed to remain at the top through mere cable syndication. Neither show has been available to stream outside of the "stacked" few episodes at a time through the network. Now, after getting Friends back from Netflix in a $425 million deal, HBO Max is poising itself to be a massive competitor in the mad grab for subscribers.
The streamer also announced it would be exclusively offering The BBC's original The Office, Luther and Doctor Who as well. Overall, popular comedies have become a hot commodity in the Streaming Wars. NBCUniversal paid over $500 million for the American version of The Office headlined by Steve Carell, Disney Plus will be adding The Simpsons, and now that it has lost Friends and The Office, Netflix is continuing its relationship with Nick Kroll's Big Mouth and the popular Grace & Frankie.
Once the most watched show on television, The Big Bang Theory would be a massive win for HBO Max, but as new information pours in, the prospects for each streaming service is constantly changing. Disney recently announced its $12.99 bundle that will include Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.
Netflix is losing much of its borrowed content, but it still has active multi-project deals with creators like David Benioff, DB Weiss and Ryan Murphy. HBO Max has original content coming down the pipeline including an anthology starring Anna Kendrick called Love Life, a Dune spinoff called Dune: Sisterhood, and The Flight Attendant with Big Bang's Kaley Cuoco. Apple TV+ details have been scarce, but the massive company is bound to have big things in store for us. This news came to us via Deadline