JJ Abrams’ Demimonde, the first show the prolific producer has written since Edge in 2008, was booming at HBO when sources said the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, is frustrated by the lack of output from Bad Robot’s $250 million master deal.
Sources say The Hollywood Reporter budget for HBO Demimonde – which has been in the works since 2018 – is a source of controversy as Abrams’ Bad Robot is aiming for a $200 million spend north. For comparison, the budget for the upcoming HBO Game of Thrones prequel Dragon’s House less than $200 million.
Decided to watch a sci-fi drama Demimonde will move forward is expected to arrive this week. The cast of the series Station 11 and The guard Danielle Deadwyler in April and sources say Warner Bros. TV reviewed 10 out of 8 scripts for the TV series that landed on HBO with the series order two weeks after it was delivered to the buyer.
Bad Robot’s rich master deal with Warner Bros. Discovery is not currently in jeopardy, although the lack of output has sparked a broader discussion of what the newly merged company should expect from the deal. Zaslav, sources said, was frustrated with the lack of delivery from the deal that was signed back in September 2019 after Abrams and Bad Robot met suitors including Apple as they shopped for a rich new deal.
Abrams has multiple projects operating under company-wide contracts, with Demimonde take part in an adult cartoon Batman Abrams reunion series with Felicity collaborator and friend Matt Reeves (who is behind Batman film). Abrams and Bad Robot are also working on originals including HBO Max’s May change. Both of those TV series are based on an original Abrams concept and have official series orders. Abrams is directing the pilot for Demimonde, which changed the program runner. Other projects include a scripted U2 series that the studio is producing for Netflix, Apple Supposedly innocent and crime movies Duster for HBO Max because the production company Abrams runs with partner (and wife) Katie McGrath is also behind HBO Max’s DC Comics-based Justice League Dark franchise, whose shows include Constantine and Mrs X.
Sources say DC Comics properties are also in the spotlight. Sources suggest there is some frustration in the lobby of Warner Bros. Discovery that Abrams has requested some DC characters but has yet to have anything aired. Source notes Warners has seen scripts for Constantine and the pilot of Mrs X.
Meanwhile, the lack of content distribution for HBO and HBO Max has created pipeline problems for both premium cable networks and streaming players, making budgeting for things like marketing a pain in the ass. difficult. There are currently no plans to ship any of Bad Robot’s many projects to the WBD platform or to third-party buyers. Abrams, notably, is working on a Star Trek films for rival studio Paramount Global under the Warners treaty do not include exclusivity.
In a larger sense, Zaslav is putting all of the studio’s overall dealings under a microscope as he looks to take a $3 billion cut from Warner Bros.’s newly merged Discovery. Other rich deals at the studio include Greg Berlanti’s $400 million deal, in which Warners already has a plethora of shows and movies debuting across linear and streaming platforms.
Notably, Bad Robot has rapidly expanded into divisions that include games and podcasting.
Representatives of Warner Bros. Discovery and Bad Robot declined to comment.