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HBO Max, Hulu to Share Streaming Rights for ‘Abbott Elementary’

Matt Tamanini

Even in the current streaming landscape of bundling and consolidation, it takes something special for two streaming services that don’t share a corporate parent to partner together on anything, but fortunately for Hulu and HBO Max, the Emmy-darling freshman sitcom “Abbott Elementary” is pretty special.

On Thursday, the streaming services announced that they will share co-exclusive streaming rights of the series with Hulu maintaining its next-day window, while HBO Max will pick them up in between seasons. As “Abbott Elementary” airs on Hulu’s sibling broadcast network ABC, the full first season is already available to stream on that platform, but the first 13 episodes will come to HBO Max on Aug. 20.

The second season kicks off on Sept. 21 and episodes will continue to appear on Hulu the following day. However, following the finale, Season 2 will arrive on the HBO streamer in time for that service’s audience to catch up before Season 3 inevitably debuts on ABC; so the second season will likely drop sometime in summer 2023.

While this type of streaming arrangement is what helped build Netflix’s vast content library, it is not the same type of deal. In the case of “Abbott Elementary,” the show is produced by Warner Bros. Television — which like HBO Max is under the Warner Bros. Discovery umbrella — and Disney-owned 20th Television. So, it is not a licensing agreement like what you might see when Netflix drops full seasons of a currently running show during the hiatus. Instead, both Hulu and HBO Max’s parent companies have a portion of the show’s ownership, so a partnership of this sort was in both of their interests.

Related: How to Stream Every Show Nominated For 2022 Emmys; HBO and Netflix Lead the Way

“Abbott Elementary” was by far the breakaway broadcast hit of the 2021-22 television season and served as a welcome return of the feel-good sitcom for viewers and critics alike. The show was nominated for seven Emmy Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series, lead acting and writing nominations for Quinta Brunson, supporting acting nominations for Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

So, if you are a Hulu subscriber, you can catch up on the first season now, or if you have HBO Max, you can start doing so in just over three weeks. Either way, class is in session!

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