J.J. Abrams strikes wide-ranging production deal with WarnerMedia

Producer will helm projects across platforms

By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

(CNN) - J.J. Abrams has closed a wide-ranging deal that would make WarnerMedia the exclusive home of his production company, Bad Robot.

Abrams would produce original projects across WarnerMedia's platforms, including TV, film and streaming. The partnership runs through 2024. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports in June valued it at roughly half a billion dollars.

The deal is a big one for WarnerMedia, locking down one of the most popular and accomplished names in Hollywood at an important time for the company. Abrams has produced original TV hits such as "Westworld" and "Lost" and has revived major film franchises such as "Star Wars" and "Star Trek." And Abrams' star power can help WarnerMedia attract subscribers for its upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.

"Across all forms of content, we are uniquely positioned to offer our creative partners a multitude of platforms to realize their artistic goals and ambitions, and to ensure that their stories have the best possible opportunity to connect with the right audience," John Stankey, WarnerMedia's CEO, said in a statement.

WarnerMedia did not announce any upcoming films or shows that will be led by Abrams, but did say that Bad Robot would "develop and produce new television projects — including dramas and comedies, longform/event series, digital content and more — for all platforms."

Abrams' next film will be the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," which debuts in December.

"I am grateful for the chance to write, produce and direct work for this incredible company, and to help create films and series with a diverse and vast collection of inspiring storytellers," Abrams said in a statement. "We can't wait to get started."

Poaching big-name talent is one way streaming companies are reinforcing their content strategy as new competition enters the market. Netflix poached producer Shonda Rhimes from ABC in 2017 for what the New York Times reported was around $150 million. Then in 2018 it signed producer Ryan Murphy for up to $300 million. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of "Game of Thrones," signed a deal with Netflix last month for $200 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Apple struck a multiyear deal with Oprah Winfrey in June of 2018 to create documentaries and a book club.

WarnerMedia is CNN's parent company.

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