HBO Max Orders Three J.J. Abrams Bad Robot Productions, Including ‘Shining’-Based ‘Overlook’

HBO Max has given production commitments for three new one-hour dramas from J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television Group. It marks the first new Bad Robot–produced television projects for HBO Max under the exclusive content collaboration partnership formed by Bad Robot with HBO Max parent company WarnerMedia in fall 2019.

The first series, “Duster,” is to be co-written by J.J. Abrams and LaToya Morgan. Set in the 1970s Southwest, it follows the life of a gutsy getaway driver for a growing crime syndicate. Morgan is currently a writer on “The Walking Dead.” Previously, she was a co-executive producer and writer of AMC’s “Into the Badlands” and “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” and was a writer for NBC’s “Parenthood” and Showtime’s “Shameless.”

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The second series, “Overlook,” is a horror-thriller show inspired by and featuring iconic characters from Stephen King’s The Shining. “Overlook” explores the untold, terrifying stories of the famous haunted hotel in American fiction. The project reunites Bad Robot, King and WBTV, who previously collaborated on the acclaimed psychological-horror series “Castle Rock” for Hulu.

The third will be a major series based on DC characters in the “Justice League Dark” Universe, with details to be revealed soon.

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“What an amazing start to our association with the wildly imaginative Bad Robot team under J.J. and Katie,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TNT, TBS and truTV, said in a statement. “What could be better than an original J.J. idea and then Warner Bros. letting them loose on iconic I.P. from Stephen King and the DC Universe and to provide more must-have programming on HBO Max.”

All of the Bad Robot series for HBO Max will be executive produced by J.J. Abrams and its head of television Ben Stephenson. Rachel Rusch Rich, Bad Robot EVP of television, will serve as a co-executive producer. Warner Bros. International Television Distribution will be the global distributor for the programs.

WarnerMedia Gets Director J.J. Abrams for Reported $500 Million

Director J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have decided to hang their shingle under the WarnerMedia banner.

After months of entertaining bids from all the big SVOD players, including Netflix, Apple TV and Comcast, among others, the 53-year-old “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” director opted to stay with Warner Bros. in an exclusive production deal reportedly worth upwards of $500 million.

Abrams and co-CEO Katie McGrath, along with AT&T COO and CEO WarnerMedia John Stankey, Sept. 12 announced a “strategic relationship” to create original projects for television, theatrical motion pictures, games and digital platforms.

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The wide-ranging agreement commences immediately and initially runs through 2024; per company practice, financial terms were not disclosed.

“We are extremely excited about the potential to deliver remarkable and memorable stories and characters across multiple platforms to audiences around the world,” Stankey said in a statement. J.J., Katie and all of Bad Robot bring extraordinary vision, exquisite filmmaking, and exemplary industry leadership to this endeavor and our company.”

Stankey credited Warner Bros. Television Group president/COO Peter Roth’s longstanding relationship with Abrams and Katie for helping cement the deal.

​This new agreement builds on a highly successful, 13-year relationship between Abrams and Warner Bros. that began in 2006 when Bad Robot entered into an exclusive overall deal for television with Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG). Bad Robot and WBTVG subsequently renewed the television component in 2012 and 2015.

As part of the collaboration, Bad Robot will continue to develop and produce new television projects — including dramas and comedies, longform/event series, digital content and more — for all platforms, including premium/pay and basic cable networks, on-demand/streaming services, and the broadcast networks.

These include WarnerMedia-affiliated networks and platforms such as HBO, HBO Max and more, as well as external outlets.

Bad Robot’s series will continue to be produced in association with Warner Bros. Television, Warner Horizon Scripted Television or WBTVG’s digital studio Blue Ribbon Content, with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution distributing the shows around the globe.

Under terms of the new agreement, Abrams and Bad Robot will also develop original theatrical films for the divisions of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, including Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema.

Bad Robot will honor existing obligations to Paramount Pictures and Abrams is directing and producing the release of The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment of the Star Wars Skywalker saga.

In 2018, Bad Robot formed a video game development division Bad Robot Games, in association with Tencent and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and the companies will continue to work together on the creation of new large and indie consumer games for mobile, PC and console.

During its creative collaboration with WBTVG, Bad Robot has produced a number of acclaimed hit series, including “Fringe” (co-created by Abrams) for Fox and “Person of Interest” for CBS, both of which reached the 100-episode milestone, “Westworld” for HBO, plus “Castle Rock” and the event series “11.22.63” for Hulu, among others.

Current series produced by Bad Robot include the upcoming “Demimonde” (to be created by Abrams) and “Lovecraft Country” for HBO, plus “Lisey’s Story,” “Little Voice” and “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends” for Apple TV+.

Prior to its association with WBTVG, Bad Robot produced the long-running hit series “Alias” (created by Abrams) and “Lost” (co-created by Abrams) for ABC. Abrams previously co-created the hit series “Felicity” for The WB Network.