LOS ANGELES – HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service owned by WarnerMedia, will offer all 279 episodes of the popular sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” which ended its 12-year run in May.
Under the deal, the massive comedy hit series will be streamed exclusively on HBO Max, which is scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2020, the company announced in a statement on Tuesday.
“Few shows define a generation and capture mainstream zeitgeist like The Big Bang Theory,” WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said.
“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 US is a coup for our new offering,” he added.
Although the entertainment conglomerate has not made public the amount it paid to secure the streaming rights, The Hollywood Reporter cites unidentified sources that estimate it could be well over a billion dollars.
Thanks to the agreement, WarnerMedia’s cable channel TBS will continue airing the show through 2028, the company added.
“The Big Bang Theory,” one of the most successful TV comedies of all time, was one of the last survivors of traditional television before the triumphant arrival of digital platforms such as Netflix.
Its traditional sitcom format – including recurring characters and often recorded in front of a studio audience, on a set and containing laughter tracks – is a format that is gradually dying but seems to attract the interest of new services.
On Monday, Netflix struck a five-year deal for the global streaming rights of the iconic comedy series “Seinfeld,” which ran in the US between 1989-1998.
In July, WarnerMedia confirmed that it had acquired exclusive streaming rights to global hit “Friends” for five years starting in 2020 for a reported sum of $425 million.
The same fate awaits “The Office,” which will leave Netflix and begin streaming exclusively on NBCUniversal’s new digital platform called Peacock in 2021 under a deal reportedly valued at $500 million.