‘Welcome to Derry,’ ‘Harry Potter’ Series Move to HBO From Max in Tentpole Strategy Change

Warner Bros. Discovery is putting some of the “premium” back into its premium cable outlet, HBO.

In a branding strategy shift, several tentpole series that had been announced as original shows for streamer Max — including the in-development Harry Potter series and It prequel Welcome to Derry — will become HBO originals instead. The just-ordered Lanterns, based on DC Comics’ Green Lantern, was also first developed for Max but will now originate on HBO.

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Those series will of course still stream on Max, as all HBO shows do. But the decision to bring the high-visibility, high-budget shows under the HBO umbrella represents a change in approach to how the two outlets, both headed by Casey Bloys, differentiate their programming.

When Bloys took charge of what was then HBO Max in 2020, the streamer was to be the home of all series based on preexisting IP from Warner Bros. (in addition to shows like Hacks and the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That). As recently as January, he told The Hollywood Reporter that “Sarah Aubrey [head of original programming at Max] and her team are trying to focus more on using the Warner Bros. IP to do big tentpole shows.”

Now, those big-budget shows will carry the same HBO originals banner as House of the Dragon and The Last of Us. The change in branding will happen next year, meaning 2024 Max releases like The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy will still be Max originals. (Further blurring the lines, shows from both outlets are grouped together as “HBO/Max” series for awards consideration.)

As for Max, its slate of originals includes comedies Hacks, And Just Like That, The Sex Lives of College Girls and Bookie, DC series Peacemaker and forthcoming dramas The Pitt and Duster.

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