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Live-action Harry Potter TV series rumoured to be in development

Harry Potter is a much-loved IP around the world. Now, could a live-action Harry Potter television show be on its way to the small screen?

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Reports from Hollywood suggest that Warner Bros’ streaming service HBO Max is in conversation with various writers about ways to expand the iconic IP into television.

“Expanding the world of Harry Potter remains a top priority for HBO Max and Warner Bros., which along with creator J.K. Rowling, controls rights to the property,” says journalist Lesley Goldberg, writing in The Hollywood Reporter.

She claims sources say that executives at HBO Max “have engaged in multiple conversations with potential writers exploring various ideas that would bring the beloved property to television. Sources say broad ideas have been discussed as part of the early-stage exploratory meetings.”

HBO Max and Warner Bros are currently denying the story, saying in a statement:  “There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform.”

Hollywood insiders, however, are taking the statement with a pinch of salt, seeing a potential move into television as a natural and obvious progression for the IP.

Prioritising streaming

With the pandemic heavily impacting both cinema and theme parks, it’s no surprise that studios are focusing on home streaming services.  HBO Max, which launched last year, already streams DC movies, Game of Thrones, and HBO classics such as Sex and the City. 

It has many DC Comics shows in production, including the Peacemaker spin-off series from Suicide Squad.  Other series are based around Green Lantern, Justice League Dark, Dune, and The Shining.

Disney has also announced a rash of new shows set within Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars worlds.  Two spin-offs of Disney Plus series The Mandalorian are also planned.

Complicated rights

If Harry Potter does come to television, it will have to be with the blessing of author J.K. Rowling. She controls the entire franchise and carefully oversees the IP.

In 2016 NBCUniversal and Warner Bros signed a seven-year rights deal US broadcast, cable and streaming rights to the Wizarding World franchise alongside theme park content, events, and digital initiatives.  A side deal needed to be made to allow the Harry Potter movies to stream briefly on HBO Max last May at the launch of the streaming service.

Inevitable expansion of the Harry Potter franchise

However much Warner Bros may deny the making of a Harry Potter series, the beloved IP will undoubtedly be expanding its reach.  Last week it was reported that Tom Ascheim has been appointed to oversee the Harry Potter franchise and Wizarding World properties.

“I’ve been an avid Harry Potter fan for years,” said Ascheim. “I look forward to going even further in exploring and expanding all of the opportunities we have in this incredible world.”

Meanwhile, Thierry Coup, Senior VP and Chief Creative Officer at Universal Creative, insists there is much more to come from Harry Potter.  “We’re not done,” he said. “The Wizarding World is not resting. It keeps building.”

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