HBO Max and Hulu will share custody of Emmy-nominated series ‘Abbott Elementary’

In a bit of an unusual agreement, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that HBO Max will have joint streaming custody of the comedy series “Abbott Elementary” with Disney+’s sister streaming service Hulu. The two streaming giants will now share the hit ABC show on their competing services.

Hulu already has priority streaming rights over ABC programming, so the Disney-owned platform will continue to release episodes the day after it broadcasts on the television network. Once a season of “Abbott Elementary” is finished, it will then appear on the HBO Max platform.

HBO Max subscribers will be able to stream the entire first season (13 episodes) of “Abbott Elementary” on August 20.

The reason behind the move is to give first-time viewers who may not own a Hulu subscription a chance to see the show before the next season begins on the rival service. So, when season 2 releases on Hulu on September 22, HBO Max subscribers will have to wait for the finale until it comes to the service. Those who want to watch its season 2 premiere on September 21 can turn to ABC at 9 p.m. ET.

This deal is unlike most streaming arrangements. While these types of deals are what helped Netflix build its robust content library, this one is different because “Abbott Elementary” is produced by both Warner Bros. Television and Disney-owned 20th Television (formerly 20th Century Fox Television.)

Created by and starring Quinta Brunson—who rose to social media fame on Vine in 2014– the workplace comedy “Abbott Elementary” premiered in December 2021 and explores a group of teachers in an understaffed and underfunded Philadelphia public school attempting to help their students succeed even though the cards are stacked against them.

The show made Emmy history recently as Brunson was the first Black woman to receive three comedy nominations and is the youngest Black actress ever nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress comedy category. “Abbott Elementary” nabbed seven Emmy nominations overall. Also, Hulu reached a milestone of 58 Emmy nominations, compared to 26 last year.

The overall boom in streaming and the launch of well-fortified platforms have created a lot of buy-side demand for pre-sold titles. The competition among services has also created some really awkward situations.

Netflix has been known to grab big titles such as “The Office” and “Friends” which have now switched over to other streaming homes. Thanks to a 2017 agreement, “Schitt’s Creek” moved to Netflix from Pop TV, a pay TV channel owned by Paramount. This April, Hulu revealed that the show and all its six brilliantly written seasons are moving over to the streamer beginning October 3.

The streaming wars continue to ramp up and NBC Universal, like every other media company, is trying to beef up its content library for its service Peacock. The company terminated its licensing agreement with Hulu in March, taking back shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Voice.” Hulu still has the rights to older titles such as “Law & Order SVU,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “30 Rock,“ among others.

In February, Paramount Global took “South Park” from competitor HBO Max in a $500 million deal. The long-running comedy will stream exclusively on Paramount+ in 2025. “Harry Potter” is also leaving the service on August 30. The film franchise appeared on Peacock in the beginning of July.

When NBCUniversal took the streaming rights to “Yellowstone” in 2020, the show was brought to Peacock. Even though Paramount owns the rights, Paramount+ didn’t launch until the next year, which is why the company isn’t licensed to stream it on the platform. You can watch it on its linear channel Paramount Network.

Yesterday, Comcast released its second-quarter results, revealing that Peacock’s subscriber base has stalled to 13 million subscribers and losses widened to $467 million.

Hulu (Disney), HBO Max (Warner Bros. Discovery), and Paramount are set to release their quarterly earnings reports next week.

Apple partners with ABC on 2020 presidential coverage in the Apple News app

Apple announced today it will collaborate with ABC News on coverage of the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election in its Apple News app. The efforts will kick off with the Democratic primary debate on February 7, 2020, in New Hampshire, and will feature ABC News videos, live streams, plus FiveThirtyEight polling data, infographics and analysis during key moments in the 2020 election.

The collaboration will extend through Super Tuesday, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the general election debates, election night and the 2021 presidential inauguration, Apple says.

ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV will also partner for the February debate, the first to be held after primary voting begins.

This isn’t the first time Apple has added special coverage to its News app in the months leading up to a U.S. election. The company began to push its own election coverage after the 2016 election controversies that saw large tech companies, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, facing congressional inquiries and investigations regarding the Russian interference with elections that took place across their networks.

In the months since, Apple News rolled out its own guide to the U.S. midterms, followed by a real-time election results hub on Nov. 6, 2018. And most recently, it added a guide to the 2020 Democratic candidates and debates.

The need for news platforms users can trust is a key part of Apple’s agenda with its News app. Apple cites ABC’s winning of four Edward R. Murrow Awards this year, including for overall excellence in television. It also hosted the most-watched debate of the 2020 presidential cycle so far in September 2019, with over 14 million viewers across ABC and Univision, and 11 million online video views.

FiveThirtyEight, meanwhile, is known for its statistical analysis, data visualization, and reporting on politics and the election, which includes things like trackers on the latest polling, candidate endorsements, and fundraising.

“Access to quality news and trusted information is always important, and never more so than in an election year,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News, in a statement about the collaboration. “We’re proud to partner with ABC News to present the millions of people who use Apple News each day with dynamic live coverage and responsible analysis during the major news moments of the 2020 election.”

“This election is one of the most consequential in modern history, and this unprecedented partnership with Apple News will deliver our world-class political journalism to more people than ever before,” noted James Goldston, president of ABC News. “It will enable millions more people to have a deeper understanding of the key issues, candidates, and events by providing straightforward information, insight, and context during the entire 2020 cycle — reaching our audience anywhere and anytime they want breaking and in-depth news,” he said.

Prior Apple News election coverage involved a range of media partners, such as Axios, Politico, The Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, The New York Times, CBS and others.

It’s notable that Apple has this time selected ABC as its coverage partner. Apple has historically had close ties with Disney, which owns ABC, thanks to Disney CEO Bob Iger’s close relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Disney’s acquisition of Jobs’ company, Pixar, in 2006. However, with Apple’s launch of Apple TV+, a Disney+ competitor, Iger resigned from Apple’s board of directors, saying the two companies’ paths were conflicting. But as tihs 2020 election news partnership demonstrates, the two companies can still work closely together, at times.