×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oprah Winfrey pacts with HBO

Harpo Films to develop series, films for network

Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films has entered into an exclusive output pact with HBO to develop and produce scripted series, minis, docs and movies for the pay cabler.

Deal comes at the end of Harpo’s exclusive output pact with ABC, an arrangement that produced telepics including last year’s “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s For One More Day.”

HBO arrangement covers made-for TV programming and not theatrical properties, such as last year’s Harpo-produced “Great Debaters.”

“ABC was always incredibly supportive of us, but there are natural limitations to being on network TV, part of that being ratings and commercial sponsorship,” said Harpo Films prexy Kate Forte. “It just seemed like a natural progression to meet with HBO, especially after the strong message I’ve been getting (from Winfrey) for the last year and a half that a lot of our projects seemed right for HBO.”

Deal with HBO comes as Winfrey is readying the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network, a cable channel she co-owns with Discovery Networks.

Forte said OWN’s programming strategy will not be in line with the kind of content Harpo Films produces.

“Our deal with HBO is for scripted programming,” she said. “OWN is more for nonscripted programming. It’s a totally separate company.”

According to HBO co-prexy Richard Plepler, the pact was made without any specific project in mind.

Plepler did seem to indicate, however, that Harpo’s pact with HBO could be more prolific than the one it had with ABC. In fact, “For One More Day” was the only project to emerge from the company’s Alphabet deal in the past two years.

“I don’t think the number of ideas will be a problem,” he said. “The question will be how can we do everything?”

Michael Lombardo, president of HBO’s programming group and West Coast operations, added: “We generally don’t have a lot of overall deals with producers with whom we don’t have current shows. But when we met Kate and Oprah, it was obvious that this was the right deal to make.”

More TV

  • BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary with

    BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary With Stephen Fry, Freddie Fox

    A new documentary about Oscar Wilde will tell the celebrated writer’s story with a star cast recreating excerpts from his greatest works, including “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Freddie Fox, Claire Skinner, Anna Chancellor and James Fleet will all perform in the 80-minute show, “The Importance of Being Oscar,” which [...]

  • FOSSE VERDON -- Pictured: (l-r) Michelle

    TV News Roundup: 'Fosse/Verdon' Premiere Date Set at FX

    In today’s TV news roundup, FX announced the premiere date for “Fosse/Verdon,” and Comedy Central released a new trailer for the final season of “Broad City.”  DATES “Workin’ Moms” is set to premiere Feb. 22 on Netflix. The series, which is currently in its third season, first aired in Canada on CBC Television and is [...]

  • Ilana Glazer Abbi Jacobson

    'Broad City' Stars on Discovering New Aspects of Their Characters

    Throughout the run of “Broad City,” creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have been conflicted about how much of their on-screen characters (also named Abbi and Ilana) should come directly from their personalities and lives. But when it came to the final season, Jacobson in particular experienced a life-changing shift that she wanted to impart [...]

  • The Goldbergs spinoff

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured' From 'Goldbergs' Producers

    NBC has ordered a pilot for the multi-camera comedy “Uninsured.” In the series, young parents Dave and Rebecca end up having to take care of Dave’s parents who have mishandled their finances and need help to pay down a sizable debt. Dan Levy will serve as writer and executive producer, with Doug Robinson and Alison Greenspan [...]

  • Emily Kapnek

    'Splitting Up Together' Creator Emily Kapnek Inks Overall Deal at ABC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    Writer and producer Emily Kapnek has signed a three-year overall deal at ABC Studios, Variety has learned exclusively. Kapnek most recently developed the ABC single-cam comedy series “Splitting Up Together,” which is based on the Danish series “Bedre skilt end aldrig.” She was previously under an overall deal at Warner Bros. Television, which produces “Splitting Up [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content