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HBO Max is clearing out all of its live-action DC Comics scripted original series.
The Warner Bros. Discovery-backed streamer has canceled Pennyworth, the prequel show about Batman’s famed butler. The series wrapped its third and now final season Nov. 24.
The drama starring Jack Bannon as Alfred Pennyworth was created by Gotham creator Bruno Heller (who also served as showrunner). Pennyworth hailed from Warner Bros. Television and was developed for the MGM-backed premium cable network Epix (which is now known as MGM+). In a bid to reduce programming costs, the series was sold to HBO Max and paired with fellow DC series Doom Patrol and Titans on the platform. MGM+ still has the option to air the third season, though that seems highly unlikely even at a reduced licensing fee.
“While HBO Max is not moving forward with another season of Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler, we are very thankful to creator Bruno Heller and executive producers Matthew Patnick, Danny Cannon and John Stephens, along with Warner Bros. Television, for their brilliant, unique, gripping depiction of the origin of Alfred Pennyworth, one of the most iconic characters in the Batman world,” a spokesperson for HBO Max said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. “An incredible blend of action, drama and humor, for three seasons, Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler has taken fans on a mind-bending ride into Alfred’s eccentric world and the beginnings of cutting-edge super heroes and super villains.”
The decision to cancel Pennyworth comes days after HBO Max axed fellow DC dramas Titans and Doom Patrol and a day after new DC Studios chiefs James Gunn and Peter Safran unveiled a five-show and five-film slate for a more unified first “chapter” in the new DC universe. Pennyworth was not part of those plans. Under Gunn and Safran, all 10 projects will be interconnected — following a model that was created by Greg Berlanti for his DC universe on The CW and, later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With the conclusion of Pennyworth and the cancellations of Doom Patrol and Titans, all that remains on HBO Max from the pre-Gunn/Safran DC roster is the animated hit Harley Quinn. That series, which hails from Abbott Elementary producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker and Warner Bros. TV, was already renewed for a fourth season and has a spinoff, Noonan’s, in the works.
As for what remains of Berlanti’s DC kingdom at The CW, The Flash is ending this year; Superman & Lois is in its fourth season and on the bubble; and rookie Gotham Knights bows in March. Incidentally, Berlanti had been working on a big-budget Green Lantern series for DC and HBO Max but parted ways with the project amid Gunn and Safran developing a new True Detective-style take on the famed hero(es).
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