It’s official: a Harry Potter TV series are coming to the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max.
David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, has revealed plans for a live-action TV series based on controversial author JK Rowling’s beloved book series. Zaslav made the announcement Wednesday morning during a presentation revealing how streamers HBO Max and Discovery+ would be integrated. As expected, HBO Max has also been officially rebranded and is now simply called “Max.”
Here’s how the series is described by Max: “The stories of each of Rowling’s Harry Potter books will be a ten-year series produced with the same epic craftsmanship, love and care for which this global franchise is known. The series will feature a new cast to lead a new generation of fandom, full of fantastic detail, much-loved characters and dramatic locations that Harry Potter fans have loved for over 25 years. Each season will be authentic to the original books and Harry Potter, bringing these incredible adventures to new audiences around the world, while the original, classic and beloved films will remain at the core of the franchise and will be available to watch worldwide.
The series comes from Warner Bros. TV, Bronte Film and TV and counts Rowling, Neil Blair and Ruth Kenley-Letts as executive producers. David Heyman, who produced all eight feature films, is in talks with executive producer. A writer and showrunner are still being sought.
“We are excited to give audiences the opportunity to experience Hogwarts in a whole new way,” said Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO of HBO & Max Content. “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear that there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In partnership with Warner Bros. Television and JK Rowling, this new Max Original series delves deep into each of the iconic books fans have loved over the years.”
“Max’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of my books is important to me, and I look forward to being a part of this new edit that allows for a level of depth and detail only offered by a feature-length television series, said Rowling. .
A live action Harry Potter TV series are in the works since early 2021 then The Hollywood Reporter reported only that several ideas were in the exploratory phase. Since then, meetings with writers have taken place as part of the exploratory meetings.
The interest to take Harry Potter to TV has grown in recent months after Warner Bros. and Discovery have merged. Zaslav, who oversees the combined company, has repeatedly expressed interest in doing more with the beloved boy wizard franchise.
Zaslav told investors in November that franchises would be a key area of focus for WBD. He found at the time that the company had done nothing with it Harry Potter in 15 years and expressed hope that the company could do more with Rowling. After extensive negotiations, Rowling will be involved as an executive producer Harry Potter series, though she is not expected to have day-to-day control or contribute to the writing as she manages the rights to the property.
The Channing Dungey-led Warner Bros. TV becomes the studio of the Harry Potter TV serials.
The Harry Potter franchise is one of the cornerstones of Warner Bros. Rowling’s seven-book series was adapted into eight feature films that collectively grossed more than $7 billion worldwide. Warners also has the Fantastic beasts movies and a Harry Potter play. More recently, Warners have enjoyed success with HBO Max’s Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion (which Rowling was not involved in) and with a quiz show for TBS.
The Harry Potter franchise has had complicated rights issues. Rowling controls the franchise and has a say in everything related to the property. NBCUniversal signed a rich seven-year rights deal with Warner Bros. in 2016. Domestic TV Distribution, including US broadcast, cable and streaming rights to the Wizarding World franchise. That deal, which expires in April 2025, included digital initiatives as well as theme park content and events. The pact also meant Warner executives had to make a side deal that allowed all Harry Potter features to stream briefly on HBO Max when the service originally launched. The movies are now streaming on both Peacock and Max.