Bazinga! HBO Max wins U.S. streaming rights for 'The Big Bang Theory'

(Reuters) – HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service from AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia, has secured exclusive five-year streaming rights in the United States to all 12 seasons of comedy hit “The Big Bang Theory”.

FILE PHOTO – Actors Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco participate in the cement handprints ceremony for the cast of the television comedy “The Big Bang Theory” at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Ranked as the No. 1 comedy on U.S. television for the past seven years, the show has garnered an audience of some 20 million people.

All 279 episodes will be available on HBO Max when it launches in the spring of 2020, WarnerMedia said in a statement.

The show about four brilliant but socially inept scientists that made geeks and comic book nerds pop culture cool, began in 2007 and went on to win 10 Emmy awards, four of them for Jim Parsons as quirky theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper.

Over the years, the series featured cameos by celebrities including British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, “Star Trek” actors William Shatner and George Takei, and Marvel comics legend Stan Lee.

Winning rights to hit shows have become expensive in a crowded streaming industry dominated by Netflix Inc, Hulu and’s Prime Video. Walt Disney Co and Apple Inc have also announced their own streaming services.

The rights for “The Big Bang Theory” is worth close to $500 million, the Wall Street Journal reported here citing a person familiar with the deal.

WarnerMedia declined to comment on the financial details of the deal.

In July, HBO Max, which expects to have a slate of 10,000 hours of premium content at launch, got here the rights to stream U.S. reruns of the popular television sitcom “Friends” from 2020, taking the show away from rival Netflix Inc.

Netflix, which is also poised to lose popular workplace comedy “The Office”, said on Monday it landed the global streaming rights for classic TV sitcom “Seinfeld.”

“Friends,” a TV hit in the 1990s, was the second-most-watched show on Netflix in the United States after “the Office” when measured by minutes streamed, according to Nielsen data for 2018. “The Office” will move to Comcast Corp’s NBC Universal streaming service in 2021.

Cable television channel TBS has extended its agreement to continue airing “The Big Bang Theory” through 2028, WarnerMedia said.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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