Laughter—even canned laughter—proves contagious as The Big Bang Theory makes the jump to HBO Max in a record-breaking deal. The new streaming service acquired exclusive U.S. streaming rights to CBS’ zeitgeisty comedy series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This is a big bang in the streaming world, as WarnerMedia (which owns HBO Max) laid down “about $600 million over five years,” according to industry sources who spoke with Variety. On top of that, THR reports that overall for the show, the deal is worth “worth billions of dollars” due to the “streaming end and syndication extension.” The service also bought the rights to Friends from Netflix earlier this year, for a five-year $425 million deal.
The Big Bang Theory may have ended, but reruns will continue to air on TBS through 2028. The smash-hit sitcom, created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, is the longest-running multicamera comedy series in TV history. It stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco and ran for 12 years and 279 episodes, diving deep into science, pop culture, and many digs at Wil Wheaton. This will be the first time the series has been available to stream.
The deal heats up the veritable TV arms race raging among streaming platforms. Netflix caused an uproar when it lost Friends to HBO Max and The Office to NBC’s new service, Peacock, which will stream the workplace comedy in 2021. But Netflix also recently bought Seinfeld in an approximately $500 million deal to fill the sitcom void in its library. Fellow streaming giants Amazon Prime and Hulu, along with Apple TV+ and Disney+, which will launch later in 2019, are competing for a limited number of bingeworthy classic titles to draw subscribers. There are only so many shows like Friends, after all.
The Big Bang Theory netted 55 Emmy nominations and 10 wins in its 12 years on the air. On TBS, the prequel series, Young Sheldon, is currently airing its third season and has been renewed for a fourth.
The Big Bang Theory’s new parent service, HBO Max, is still in development. The platform won’t launch until spring 2020, when The Big Bang Theory and Friends will join other library titles, including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Pretty Little Liars. HBO Max also encompasses HBO’s portfolio, so come 2020, you can binge the geeky adventures of Sheldon, Leonard and Penny between gruesome, bloody episodes of Game of Thrones.