Warner Bros. TV group boss Channing Dungey has said there is “huge ambition” for a Harry Potter TV series and reveals the company is inking a deal with Amazon for animated DC content.
In response to Variety’s question about whether there would be a TV project in the wizarding world, following the success of the Harry Potter reunion and “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses,” a competition show hosted by Helen Mirren, Dungey said: “There is there is a lot of ambition for this and we are having various conversations.”
“I wish I could tell you something was on the horizon, but there’s a lot of interest and a lot of passion for it, so absolutely,” she continued. “The great thing is that you see how the audience is so involved and so ready. Our unscripted team did a fantastic ‘Return to Hogwarts’ special for HBO last year, which was such a huge hit, then we did a quiz show, ‘The Tournament of Houses’, which hosted Helen Mirren. The audience is ready, they want to go, so we still have to figure out what the right next step is.”
Dungey spoke at UK TV conference Content London, where she also revealed that Warner Bros. TV signed a deal with Amazon for animated DC content. “One of the interesting things that’s exciting for me right now is that the previous management’s approach was much more like, ‘Everything has to stay in the house, we don’t want anything to go out,'” Dungey said. “David Zaslav was much more open to exploring all of our animated IP and being able to do it across different platforms. Sure, HBO Max will be our first stop, but we’re already closing a big deal with Amazon that will feature some of our DC-branded content in animation.”
Last month, Warner Bros. Television underwent a massive restructuring, laying off 19% of its workforce in its scripted, unscripted and animation divisions, and the development and production teams of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios were merged. The company then indicated that it wanted to outsource animation to third parties.
Dungey also discussed other issues impacting the industry, including falling budgets and skyrocketing talent salaries.
“I think the other tricky part – in terms of the cast – is the expectation now what pays your talent in the different roles,” she said. “[That] has just continued to rise, which then affects your bottom line. And that makes it difficult. You know, I think there was a feeling for a while [that a project] had to have a certain name level to be successful. Dungey said this was changing, as was reliance on time-tested IP.
She also called the industry’s decline in streaming subscribers over the past year as a measure of success “The Great Netflix Correction,” saying the metrics that define success are changing. “I think of it as ‘the great Netflix correction’ that happened early this year where people now look differently at what defines success,” Dungey said. “It’s not just about subscribers, for example, and I think people are looking at the costs of productions much more closely than before. We were in a little spending bubble there for a while and I think it’s good, I think things are settling down in a way that’s helpful and more productive.