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The two shows, produced by Comedy Central Productions, will become HBO Max originals with their second seasons, as Comedy Central parent ViacomCBS shifts its focus from live action scripted series to adult animation — including revivals of Ren & Stimpy and Beavis and Butt-head — and topical shows. As part of the deal, HBO Max will also become the exclusive streaming home for Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens — though that show will still have its first run on Comedy Central.
The deal had been in the works before HBO Max parent WarnerMedia underwent a massive restructuring that saw top executives Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly depart. The Other Two and South Side become the first acquisitions for HBO Max since HBO’s Casey Bloys gained control of the streamer as part of the restructure.
“These ground-breaking and hilarious programs are cultural touchstones and we are excited about the diverse group of comedic voices they will bring to HBO Max. We know our audiences will want to watch again and again,” said Michael Quigley, executive vp content acquisitions at WarnerMedia. “We are strategically thinking of the fans first, and adding these exceptional series to our portfolio allows us to introduce these standout comedies to new viewers on HBO Max.”
For Comedy Central Productions, the deal also helps forward a mandate to increase sales to outside buyers.
“Comedy Central Productions deal with HBO Max is emblematic of our studio production strategy to maximize the value of our content by selectively working with third parties while prioritizing franchise IP for our own platforms,” said Keyes Hill-Edgar, COO of ViacomCBS Entertainment and Youth Brands. “As we shift our strategy and double down on adult animation, topical shows and scripted movies, we are excited to supercharge our studio sales business and continue these great series with HBO Max.”
The Other Two and South Side both debuted in 2019 to strong reviews and decent but not breakout ratings and earned renewals midway through their initial runs. Former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider created the series and executive produce with Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer and Tony Hernandez. Michaels’ Broadway Video and Jax Media produce along with Comedy Central Productions.
South Side comes from creators Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin and Sultan Salahuddin (who also stars). Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin exec produce with Michael Blieden.
Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, meanwhile, will remain on Comedy Central for its first run after scoring strong ratings in its first season. Season two of the semi-autobiographical comedy, which Awkwafina co-created with Teresa Hsiao, is set to debut in summer 2021 and will air on Comedy Central in its entirety before streaming on HBO Max. Season one is available to stream now.