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HBO Max nabs exclusive rights to The Big Bang Theory in multibillion-dollar deal

Rick Marshall
HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home for The Big Bang Theory, thanks to a multibillion-dollar deal WarnerMedia struck for the rights to the Emmy-winning show.

Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny are joining Ross, Rachel, Monica, and Chandler on WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.

The direct-to-consumer video service has added The Big Bang Theory to its list of exclusive shows available to subscribers in what is reportedly a multi-billion dollar deal that will make HBO Max the streaming home of the Emmy-winning series for five years following the launch of the service in 2020. It joins the similarly high-profile series Friends, which HBO Max purchased the exclusive streaming rights to in a $425 million deal earlier this year.

The recent deals offer a clear sign that HBO Max will offer more than just the prestige programming the premium cable network was known for, and is actively competing for top series that have been popular in the streaming video environment. Friends was reportedly one of the most-watched series on Netflix.

The Big Bang Theory premiered on CBS in September 2007 and ran for 12 seasons, ending its 12-season run in May 2019. Over the course of the show’s 279 episodes, the series grew from chronicling the lives of two awkward physicists at CalTech — played by Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki — and their neighbor, a struggling actress played by Kaley Cuoco, to a broader sitcom following their friends, family members, and careers. The aforementioned regular cast members were joined by a group of socially awkward friends and love interests, and the series featured a variety of celebrity — and famous scientist — cameos over the course of its run.

A spinoff series, Young Sheldon, explored the early years of Parsons’ character.

Given that the series aired on CBS, it’s worth noting that the show won’t be streaming on CBS All Access, the network’s own, subscription-based streaming service.