The world of Harry Potter is finally coming to the small screen. It has come to light that a live-action TV show based in the Wizarding World is in the early stages. It will ultimately end up on HBO Max. The streaming service launched last year and is looking to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. WarnerMedia currently has a lot of catching up to do. Now, they are turning to arguably the biggest franchise within the Warner Bros. wheelhouse to get some much-needed attention.
According to multiple reports, executives within the WarnerMedia ranks have been taking meetings with talent exploring ideas for a potential live-action Harry Potter TV show. At this stage, "broad ideas" have been discussed and no writers or talent are attached yet. As such, this is in the earliest stages. "There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform," HBO Max and Warner Bros said in a statement. While the project has not yet entered the official development stage, the gears are turning and it's only a matter of time before the right writer has the right pitch. Then it's off to the races.
Even though it's early, this lines up with some other recent news regarding the Harry Potter franchise. Warner Bros., which controls the rights alongside creator and author J.K. Rowling, recently promoted executive Tom Ascheim to oversee the property for the studio. His duties are said to include expanding the Wizarding World "for the studio's various outlets and platform partners." Given that the Harry Potter movies earned just shy of $8 billion at the global box office, and that's not even counting the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs, this should come as little or no surprise. In the streaming era, content is king and using well-known franchises to attract attention is a key way to get ahead. Just look at what Disney has done with Star Wars, specifically The Mandalorian.
The world created by J.K. Rowling is vast and there is much to explore. It's worth noting that Rowling has a unique deal set up as she controls her baby and has a say in everything that happens with the franchise. She has personally written or co-written the scripts for all three Fantastic Beasts movies. But Rowling has also faced a lot of backlash over the last year or so for comments she has made about transgender people. This has largely overshadowed development of Fantastic Beasts 3, not to mention Johnny Depp exiting the role of Grindelwald, with Mads Mikkelsen taking over.
Aside from that, Warner Bros. has other rights issues to contend with. NBCUniversal currently holds the broadcast rights for Harry Potter in the U.S. The deal extends through 2025 and includes streaming. So, in all likelihood, the studio would have to wait for that deal to expire so that the live-action series could debut on HBO Max without having to make some sort of expensive side deal. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.