HBO Has Canceled A Highly-Anticipated JJ Abrams Series

By Charlene Badasie | 1 day ago

jj abrams hbo

J.J. Abrams’ science fiction drama series Demimonde has been scrapped by HBO. The news follows a slew of cancellations at the streamer as Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav reevaluates some of the studio’s richer overall deals. The executive has been tasked with cutting $3 billion from the newly merged company’s budget. And, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s been unhappy with the lack of output from the director and his $250 million deal that was signed in 2019.

Demimonde received a straight-to-series order at HBO in 2018 after a bidding war with Apple. Rumored to have a very high budget, the show was considered to be a top priority until recently. When the studios on the project tried to rein in costs, Bad Robot kept firm on their proposed budget of more than $200 million and would not agree to a reduction, Deadline reports. Following a last-ditch appeal to HBO boss Casey Bloys to save the show, Warner Bros ultimately decided to scrap it.

Developed and sold under Bad Robot’s previous WBTV pact, Demimonde was in the early stages of production when it was axed. Created, written, executive produced, and to be directed by J.J Abrams, the ill-fated HBO series would have been his first solo television project since Alias. Kira Snyder, Rand Ravich, and Far Shariat were set to serve as showrunners while sharing executive producing duties with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson. Rachel Rusch Rich was also set to produce.

Casting announcements also were underway in April when Danielle Deadwyler was tapped to lead the HBO series as Olive Reed. Described as an epic and intimate sci-fi fantasy drama, the story focused on Reed who is ripped from her husband and daughter in a brutal scientific accident. Following the traumatic event, she is forced to unravel a conspiracy to reunite with her family who became lost in a dark, distant world. Filming was scheduled to begin a month ago in Los Angeles.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first Bad Robot series to be passed on at HBO. Last summer, the streamer decided not to go forward with a prequel series for The Shining called Overlook. The upcoming J.J Abrams project has since been set up at Netflix but has no release date or cast at this time. Similarly, the cancellation may not be the end of Demimonde. Producers are currently shopping the show to other streamers like AppleTV+ who reportedly offered Abrams a $500 million exclusivity deal – which he turned down.

Fortunately, he’s still on good terms with AppleTV which housed his previous projects, like Little Voice and the limited series Lisey’s Story. Given their history, it seems like a natural home for Demimonde. Even if the former HBO sci-fi drama never leaves the cutting room floor, Abrams still has a pretty stacked job card. He is currently working on a Speed Racer series, a Presumed Innocent series and a Jennifer Garner project called My Glory Was I Had Such Friends. He’s also working on a scripted U2 series for Netflix and another season of Westworld.