SkyShowtime rescues dropped HBO Max European originals

Kamikaze

SkyShowtime, the recently launched Comcast and Paramount joint-streamer, has acquired 21 former HBO Max European originals in a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD).

The service has picked up exclusive European rights to 168 episodes – more than 150 hours in total – of both new, unaired shows and programming that previously premiered on HBO Max. These include titles such as Kamikaze and Lust, which were pulled as part of WBD’s cost-cutting measures. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SkyShowtime said it has the option to acquire worldwide rights on any renewed shows and to order new seasons for several shows, potentially offering hope of revival for titles previously canned by WBD. The streamer was unable to disclose further terms of the deal when TBI reached out for clarification on these points.

SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan described the agreement as a “landmark deal for SkyShowtime, giving us an immediate foothold in the original programming space well ahead of plan.”

Among the package are three new titles, which will be branded as SkyShowtime Originals: six-part Finnish crime series ID (working title), about an undercover art fraud investigator; The Winner, a six-part Czech and Slovakian family comedy about a fictional Prime Minister who returns to everyday life; and Warszawianka, an 11-part Polish drama following the tragicomic adventures of a 40-year-old ‘urban legend’ in Warsaw.

SkyShowtime will also premiere the eight-part second season of Spanish comedy series Por H o Por B, with the first season, which launched on HBO España in 2020, also being added to the streamer.

Swedish drama Beartown, both seasons of Norewgian comedy sci-fi Beforeigners, Danish drama Kamikaze, Swedish comedy Lust and Hungarian drama The Informant are also headed to SkyShowtime. These shows were pulled from HBO Max last year and were among the first casualties of WBD’s efforts to make “synergy” savings of around $3.5bn, which has also resulted in thousands of staff exits and content write-offs.

The other shows picked up by SkyShowtime in the deal include Czech shows Czech It Out! and The Sleepers; Spanish titles Foodie Love, No Activity and Todo Lo Otro; Romanian series Hackerville, Tuff Money, Ruxx and One True Singer; Sweden’s Pray, Obey; Croatia’s Success and Norway’s Welcome to Utmark.

HBO Max has ceased productions in parts of Europe, leading to job cuts including the closure of the originals division led by EMEA chief Antony Root, as exclusively revealed by TBI last year. WBD has since restructured its local originals model, with combined teams now programming across both streaming and networks.

Aside from the SkyShowtime deal, WBD’s plans for titles pulled from HBO Max also include selling content removed from the streamer to third-party FAST services. The company revealed it was preparing packages for sale including more recently cancelled titles such as Raised By Wolves, Head Of The Class and The Time Traveler’s Wife.

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