EXCLUSIVE: HBO and Sky are on the brink of striking another wide-ranging European programming deal that will potentially see the Game of Thrones franchise remain on the Comcast-owned network for years to come.
Deadline understands that the two companies are close to renewing the output deal that has seen HBO hits such as Game of Thrones, Succession, Big Little Lies and Watchmen air on Sky Atlantic in the UK, Germany and Italy.
There had been rumors that WarnerMedia was considering rolling out streaming service HBO Max in association with Comcast-owned Sky in a number of European territories, but Deadline understands that this is not the case and that Sky will more likely air some HBO Max originals on its Sky Atlantic channel across its territories.
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A handful of HBO Max shows have already been taken out to the international market by third party distributors with the likes of Lionsgate launching Anna Kendrick-fronted romantic comedy Love Life, from Paul Feig, at the recent Mipcom market.
The two companies previously agreed an extension of the output deal in 2015 and Deadline understands that it runs through to 2020.
It’s believed that the 2015 deal would cover the potential Game of Thrones prequel, starring Naomi Watts, written by Jane Goldman directed by S.J Clarkson, whose pilot was shot in Northern Ireland this summer and chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.
However, the current deal would not include the other two GoT spin-offs, which are still in script stage, nor the potential prequel from George R.R. Martin and Colony co-creator Ryan Condal, which is set 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones and tracks the beginning of the end for House Targaryen, if these projects were greenlit.
Sky understandably is keen to remain the home of the fantasy epic in its key European markets. It is also keen to keep its pipeline of premium U.S. dramas from HBO.
HBO has previously avoided launching a linear channel, or streaming service, in markets covered by Sky as a result of the lucrative programming deal.
HBO and Sky have been working well together in recent years and following a separate co-production deal signed in 2017 have been jointly responsible for Sister Pictures-produced Chernobyl, which scored a slew of Emmys last month, and Helen Mirren-fronted Catherine The Great, which Sky noted was Sky Atlantic’s third biggest series launch behind GoT and Chernobyl when it launched earlier this month.
WarnerMedia is expected to reveal more plans, including ambitions and expectations for HBO Max, at WarnerMedia’s investor day on Tuesday.
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