UPDATE Jan 1, 2022: Despite their announcement at HBO Max’s Pressroom, Supergirl did not show up. How errors like this can be made is beyond us. We apologize for their mistake!
During today’s drop of the HBO content coming in January a shocking title was buried in the massive 274 January 1st title drop. Along with almost 100 missing DC titles, Supergirl (2015) is listed.
This is huge news if true (we’ve reached out to HBO Max for clarification). Supergirl (and all the CW series still on Netflix) are under long, legacy contracts. The problem (for WarnerMedia) is the contracts stipulate that once a CW series’ final season has been added to Netflix, a countdown clock begins. Only after 5 years pass do the titles leave Netflix and become available to stream on HBO Max.
If Supergirl is flying to HBO Max in January it suggests that Netflix and WarnerMedia have worked out a new deal that will allow the CW shows affected to either leave Netflix earlier, or become shared between multiple services. We think the most likely scenario is that WarnerMedia reworked the exclusivity clause in this legacy deal for Supergirl but that the title will continue to stream on Netflix until its originally planned exit date. Whether that renegotiation has taken place on all completed CW titles (allowing Netflix exclusive access to Supernatural until November 2025 seems preeeetty foolish) or just Supergirl is unknown right now.
If a new deal occurred, it’s wild that Variety or Deadline or The Hollywood Reporter (aka Jay Penske Land) have not reported on it. Variety reported a similar deal recently made between WarnerMedia and Disney that renegotiated Disney’s inherited Fox output deal and allows Disney access to select 2021 and 2022 20th Century Studios releases that were supposed to be exclusive to HBO until 2022-2023. That deal is already bearing fruit for Disney with Ron’s Gone Wrong trending #1 on the service in many countries and Free Guy in February sure to be a massive hit.
Could More Deals Be Coming?
Pure speculation, but that deal likely inspired WarnerMedia to work out a similar deal that benefits their own major content that they cannot access due to short-sighted Netflix legacy contracts. If so, we could be seeing a much-needed snowball effect with Paramount renegotiating their own deals with WarnerMedia and Comcast that resulted in handing crown jewels South Park and Yellowstone over to competing streaming services.
Back to WarnerMedia and Netflix, it would be absurd not to try and gain access to Arrow, Supergirl, Supernatural, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, iZombie, Jane the Virgin, The Originals, Reign, The 100, Life Sentence and Black Lightning sooner than their scheduled late 2022-2026 arrivals. That’s the only thing that’s odd is Supergirl arriving prior to Arrow (which ended first).
Don’t get too excited in case it was a mistake, but take solace in the fact that the listing is HBO’s official press release for January and thus should be trustworthy.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.