WarnerMedia Entertainment Boss Bob Greenblatt has opened up about the studio’s “arms race” as it closes in on a landmark overall with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot business. The exec also hinted at a third season of HBO drama Big Little Lies during a keynote address at the Cannes Lions event.
Greenblatt was speaking at the advertising event alongside Big Little Lies star Laura Dern on a panel moderated by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones.
Less than 24 hours after it emerged that WarnerMedia was closing in on a deal to keep the Lost creator at the studio with a landmark TV and film deal, he said “we hope to keep [Abrams] in the family”. “There’s a very competitive situation out there because the other great companies and streaming services also would like to have him,”
This would mark the second mega overall deal renewal for Warner Bros. TV, following the $400 million re-up for Greg Berlanti last year.
“Just because you increase the volume [of series], you can’t increase the number of really talented people in the world who can actually produce these shows, so when they come along as a J.J. Abrams does once in every generation, you want to hold on to them,” he said.
The former NBC exec added that as “every platform comes online” it becomes an “arms race”. “He called the demand for content “insatiable” and warned that it’s a “danger” to keep going at the current pace. “Volume is both a good thing and a bad thing,” he added. “It requires us to probably put things in production faster than we should.”
Dern talked up HBO for the way that she was able to become “part of the storytelling” outside of her on-screen role as Renata Klein on the glam mystery drama.
The show, which was originally set as a limited series, could even return for more episodes, Greenblatt hinted. “It’s our job to find the next Sopranos and the next Big Little Lies, hopefully there will be more of it at some point,” he said.
Elsewhere, Greenblatt said that he expects WarnerMedia’s forthcoming digital service, which launches early next year, to have around 10,000 hours of content. “What we’re trying to do is to curate the best of what we have, not just putting 50k hours out there and good luck, putting the best of the best together, the Warner film library from Gone with the Wind to The Wizard of Oz, all of the libraries of Warner Bros Television and new original programming and all of the great HBO programming. We hope to create our own service that feels special and unique.”