EXCLUSIVE: The Harry Potter television series is moving closer to fruition.
In April, Warner Bros. Discovery revealed that a series, based on the classic wizarding world, would be coming to its streaming service Max.
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Deadline understands that things in Potterworld are now heating up with a marathon of pitches underway from writers vying for the right to adapt J.K. Rowling’s seven books.
Martha Hillier, Kathleen Jordan, Tom Moran and Michael Lesslie are among those who are presenting their visions to the streaming service and Warner Bros Television, sources said. It’s an interesting mix of Brits and Americans. We’ve heard that the group of writers were commissioned by Max to create pitches for a series reflecting their take on the IP.
We hear the first round of pitch meetings happened in Los Angeles this week and sources said that the top choices will go on to the next round in the UK. It is unclear how involved Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, has been with the process, but she is expected to be involved in the decision-making on the series, which she executive produces.
Deadline understands that there may also be an opportunity for more than one of these writers to be involved, and that Max is open to the possibility of developing more than one idea based on Harry Potter.
Sources did stress that the process is in its nascent stages. Reps for Max and WBTV declined comment.
Hillier is a British writer who was executive producer of Netflix and BBC fantasy series The Last Kingdom as well as the spinoff film The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die. She got her start on British soaps including EastEnders and Holby City.
Jordan created the Netflix series Teenage Bounty Hunters, which was exec produced by Jenji Kohan. Jordan is also working with the Orange Is the New Black creator on The Decameron, which received a series order in 2022.
Moran is a British writer who created Amazon series The Devil’s Hour, which starred Peter Capaldi. He also worked on Amazon sci-fi series The Feed and Rob Lowe cop drama Wild Bill.
Lesslie wrote The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and was exec producer of AMC’s John Le Carre drama The Little Drummer Girl, which starred Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgård. At one stage, he was attached to Peacock’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica.
The Harry Potter series will be produced by Brontë Film and TV, the production company chaired by Rowling’s agent Neil Blair, and Warner Bros Television. The pair will exec produce with Brontë CEO Ruth Kenley-Letts and David Heyman, who produced the movies, was in talks to exec produce.
In April, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that Harry Potter on Max will be “a decade-long one.”
“My wife and I, we read [the Harry Potter books] to each of our three kids….It’s really moving, for 10 consecutive years, people will see Harry Potter on HBO; I mean it’s really something,” he said.
This caps a process that began in early 2023 for Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO & Max Content. He said that before it officially announced the project in April, the company had been “trying to be very close to the vest.”
“We haven’t gone out to agencies. We have our own internal process where we’ve been thinking about people but we have not wanted to go out into the world. Now that the news is out there, we will start working with the Blair Partnership and we’ll start going out to the business.”
Rowling’s Wizarding World, spawned from her seven bestselling Harry Potter books at 600 million copies worldwide, spans retail stores, theme parks, a global stage play and a $7.7 billion global-grossing feature franchise as well as the $1.8 billion-grossing spinoff Fantastic Beasts movies.
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