Judd Apatow On Netflix Licensing HBO Shows: “It’s A Scary Thing”

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Judd Apatow is commenting on the trend of streamers licensing content from rival studios.

It was recently announced that Warner Bros. Discovery struck a deal to license Sex and the City to Netflix. Apatow is now looking ahead at the implications that these types of deals might have in the industry in the years ahead.

“I’m of two minds. There’s a part of me that’s an audience member: I’ll go back and rewatch Deadwood or NYPD Blue or any of the David Milch shows. I understand why people like the comfort food of television,” Apatow told Vulture in a recent interview. “But it’s a scary thing as a creator of television, because of all the streamers going, ‘Wait a second. We don’t need to spend $200 million on a new show. We can just bring back Barnaby Jones.’ They’re going to do it, then you’ll get fewer new shows.”

He continued, “They realize, Oh wait, Netflix can just buy shows from HBO, and I would assume they’re cheaper than making new ones. Then at some point, Netflix will sell its shows to HBO, and it’ll just be passing around all the episodes of Ballers for the rest of our lives.”

The writer, director, and producer also gave insight into the industry’s future, noting that “there are these corporate behemoths and people from the tech world taking over creativity.”

“And for some of them — not all of them — their intentions are just eyeball time online,” he added. “I don’t know if they’re obsessed with quality filmmaking in the way other owners of these entities have been in the past. That’s why they started calling it “content.” All of a sudden, they diminished it as much as it possibly could be. I don’t think it would be that weird if you read something in the paper that Pornhub bought Paramount+.”

Apatow also said studios have to take big risks, like Donna Langley at Universal, who took a bet on Oppenheimer.

“Like, who would think that anyone cared about Oppenheimer like that? Oppenheimer is going to make almost $1 billion,” he said. “Like, is anyone talking about the inventor of the atom bomb in their lives? We don’t, but the people have to take big risks, and then you realize, No, people want to be challenged. They want smart movies. They want original cinematic experiences. You do need a comedy equivalent of that.”

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