Warner Bros. TV has "a lot of interest" in a Harry Potter series

WBTV has "a lot of interest" in a Harry Potter series
WBTV has "a lot of interest" in a Harry Potter series


Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

It’s hard to keep up with the strategy at ol’ Warner Bros. Discovery these days. New CEO David Zaslav has championed the company’s existing IP, with an emphasis on its major franchises. He has also said that the company will “fully embrace theatrical” and lamented that there hadn’t been a Harry Potter movie in 15 years (pay no attention to the Fantastic Beasts behind the curtain). Given these factors, it’s interesting that the next person to tease a possible HP project is over on the television side of things.

“There is a tremendous amount of ambition for that and we are engaged in a number of different conversations,” said WBTV chairwoman and CEO Channing Dungey at the U.K. TV conference Content London, per Variety. While there is nothing “imminent on the horizon,” she admitted, “there is a lot of interest and a lot of passion for it, so absolutely.”

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“What’s great is that you see how the audience is so engaged and so ready. Our unscripted team did a fantastic Return To Hogwarts special for HBO last year, that resonated so tremendously, then we did a quiz show, The Tournament Of Houses, that Helen Mirren was the host for,” Dungey continued. “The audience is ready, they want to go, so we’re just to figure out what the right next step is.”

It’s unclear if the ambition to which Dungey refers is strictly in the realm of unscripted (á la Return To Hogwarts and Tournament Of Houses). There could certainly be scripted Harry Potter television separate from the theatrical franchise, much like there is DC superhero television series being developed separately from the DC film universe. (It should be noted this strategy is producing a fractured multiverse of DC content, unlike what the competition is doing over at Disney+ with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

And while Zaslav has said that the company would keep “critical” properties “exclusively,” certain titles—even within supposedly “critical” IP!—don’t fall under this jurisdiction. Thus, WBTV has closed a deal with Amazon to stream DC animated content.

“One of the interesting things that’s exciting for me at this moment, the approach of the previous management was much more like ‘Everything has to stay in house, we don’t want anything to go outside,’” Dungey revealed at the conference. “David Zaslav has been much more open to our exploring all of our animated IP and being able to do it on different platforms. Certainly HBO Max is going to be our first stop but we’re already in the process of closing a big deal with Amazon that’s going to feature some of our DC-branded content in animation.”

So there you have it: embrace theatrical, except for what’s television, and keep a tight rein on the IP, except for lowly animation. As long as it makes dollars, it will definitely make sense.

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