Some HBO-Exclusive Shows Are Surprisingly Headed to Netflix

A new deal would find HBO original series getting a second streaming home on a major rival

Jay Ellis, Issa Rae from the series finale of "Insecure" on HBO. Shows like "Insecure" may become available on Netflix.
Some HBO originals like "Insecure" may become available on Netflix
Raymond Liu/HBO

As part of wide cost-cutting measures, previously flush streaming services have been canceling shows that had already been renewed (or sometimes already filmed) and even taking programs off the air. But a new arrangement by Warner Bros. Discovery may help stop the bleeding a little bit — it appears that HBO’s parent company might license some of its shows to Netflix, a competitor.

Per Deadline, this licensing would mark the first time in nearly a decade that HBO shows would exist on a rival subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service in the United States. As of now, only the Issa Rae comedy Insecure, which ended in 2021, has been identified as part of the deal. If other deals come through, the shows would not be exclusive and could still be streamed on Max (Warner Bros. Discovery’s rechristened HBO Max service).

This appears to be part of the monetization plan by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who has also shuttled off shows like Westworld to free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) services like Tubi and Roku.

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For Warner Bros. Discovery, this loss of exclusivity probably pales in comparison to the need for a cash infusion, as well as exposure for shows that might be lost or forgotten on the network — or, depending on the title, have been completely removed from streaming otherwise. For creators, this is a way to keep their shows, past or present, alive and available. And for viewers, it offers a chance to catch up on some series without subscribing to a dozen different streaming platforms. And unlike HBO’s previous show licensing efforts in the early 2010s, this won’t involve edited versions of shows going to network syndication or basic cable.

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