Why 'The Larry Sanders Show' Can't Be Watched Online Yet

Garry Shandling -It's Garry Shandling's Show- H 2016
Photofest/Fox Network

The death of comedian Garry Shandling has reignited interest in the HBO sitcom.

When news broke Thursday afternoon that comedian Garry Shandling had died, fans began to mourn the loss on social media. But tributes quickly turned into questions about why they couldn’t stream his past work, including The Larry Sanders Show and It's Garry Shandling's Show, online.

HBO has since come to the rescue, confirming that it had completed a deal prior to Shandling's death to bring The Larry Sanders Show, which ran for six seasons on the cable net during the 1990s, back to TV. It will also become available on streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now.

Like many TV classics, Larry Sanders and It's Garry Shandling's Show aired long before streaming services like Netflix and Hulu conditioned TV lovers to expect online access to full episode libraries of all their favorite series. While HBO and Sony were able to strike a deal to bring Larry Sanders back, It's Garry Shandling's Show appears to be stuck in limbo.

The sitcom, known for breaking the fourth wall, originally aired on Showtime from 1986 to 1990. Fox acquiring the rights to Sunday night reruns beginning in 1988. But neither network has streaming rights. 

Larry Sanders has been easier to find online over the years. It streamed on Netflix in 2013, according to an article on Yahoo TV. It then made its way to Sony-owned, ad-supported streamer Crackle. The first three seasons were available as recently as last summer, and the entire series streamed on the service for a few months tied to Shandling's January appearance on Jerry Seinfeld's Crackle original series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. That short-lived streaming deal recently expired.

The most obvious streaming home for Larry Sanders is HBO Go and HBO Now, the cable net's authenticated and stand-alone streaming services, respectively. But the show was produced before HBO made a practice of owning its own projects, which is why the cable net had to renegotiate for the rights to the sitcom.

So where can fans find the beloved comedies? HBO has yet to provide details about when Larry Sanders will be available on its platforms. Until then, the entire library is currently for sale on iTunes and Amazon. But it’ll cost between $20 and $25 to download a full season, or $2 an episode.

Season one of It's Garry Shandling's Show is available on iTunes and Amazon for $23 or $2 an episode. Amazon is also currently offering the first episode of the sitcom for free with ads.

Both shows have been released on DVD in recent years. The Larry Sanders Show – The Complete Series, first released by Mill Creek Entertainment in May 2015, retails for about $21 on Amazon, but it’s currently out of stock due to a surge in sales on the day of Shandling’s death. Single season DVDs are also available but quickly selling out. The complete set of DVDs for It's Garry Shandling's Show, released by Shout Factory in 2009, retails on Amazon for $101 but is also out of stock.

Supplies are quickly dwindling on other e-retailers including eBay and Overstock.com as well.