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HBO Max just canceled J.J. Abrams’ new show — but it could live on

HBO Max
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HBO Max has confirmed that it will not be moving forward with J.J. Abram’s new show, Demimonde. 

The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) notes that Abrams made a last-minute pitch to HBO boss Casey Bloys in order to save the show, but it appears its fate was already sealed. HBO Max will not be moving forward with Demimonde. 

The primary reason for this very early cancelation appears to be budgetary. Reports indicate the show would have cost an eye-watering $200 million across its first season, with some sources suggesting the budget had ballooned closer to $250 million.  

This cancelation comes in the wake of HBO’s parent company Warner Bros merging with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery. It’s believed this high-profile merger may have played a role in Demimonde being axed. CEO David Zaslav has reportedly been tasked with trimming as much as $3 billion from the company’s budget and was unhappy with the lack of progress Abrams’ latest project was making. 

Demimonde would have been Abrams’ first original TV creation since 2008’s Fringe and was set to star Danielle Deadwyler in the lead role of Olive Reed. The sci-fi show focused on Reed’s hunt for her husband and daughter after being separated from them due to a brutal scientific accident. Along the way, she would unravel a dark conspiracy and uncover shocking truths. Abrams has plenty of experience in the sci-fi mystery genre having helped create the likes of Fringe, Alias and LOST.  

If that concept sounds intriguing to you, there is some good news; Demimonde may not be completely dead. While the show won’t be moving forward at HBO Max, Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, will now shop the series to other interested parties including Netflix and Apple TV Plus. Curiously, Apple originally lost out on Demimonde to HBO after a fierce bidding war in 2018. This previous interest could see Apple act fast if given a second chance. 

Demimonde is not the first Bad Robot production to meet a disappointing end at HBO Max. Last year the streamer canned Overlook, a spinoff series from classic horror movie The Shining. The project has reportedly been picked up by Netflix. Hopefully, Demimonde will also find itself a new home as Abrams’ is long overdue a return to the small screen. 

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Rory Mellon

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.