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HBO Delivers Rare Rejection Letter To J.J. Abrams

For the past two decades, HBO has been behind some of the most critically acclaimed series on television. Flagships shows like "The Wire" and "Game of Thrones" have depicted complex characters, changed the face of pop culture, and brought in numerous viewers. Now, with the increasing success of their streaming platform, HBO Max, a myriad of exclusive shows and films have been released, and it was only natural that the network would seek out a partnership with Hollywood juggernaut J.J. Abrams. 

Abrams is a huge name. Notable for his contributions to the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" universe, it has been some time since he has rejoined the television sector. But his work on the small screen has been unforgettable, as he was one of the creative minds behind unique shows such as "Alias," "Fringe," and "Lost" (the latter of which — while now being one of Abrams' biggest hits to date — only made it to ABC on some false promises). Each of the shows Abrams has been involved with has gained a lot of attention, with his signature mixture of mystery box storytelling and sci-fi tropes leaving a deep imprint on many viewers.

For some time, Abrams has been poised to make sci-fi magic again, having first made a deal with HBO back in 2018 (via Deadline). Unfortunately for him, however, it looks like HBO has had second thoughts about moving forward with the project, titled "Demimonde." 

Demimonde is too expensive for HBO, compared to other upcoming shows

For some time, HBO has been concerned about the status of J.J. Abrams's upcoming series "Demimonde," a sci-fi series with a hefty price tag.

Initially, Abram's production company Bad Robot made a lucrative deal with Warner Bros. Discovery with a budget of $250 million. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav had recently become disillusioned with lack of content being produced. The fate of "Demimonde" had been up for debate for the past few weeks — but is now finalized.

Now, according to TV Line, HBO has officially canceled the project in light of it having a bloated budget with not enough to show for it. The series has been in development since 2018 and the only news to come out about it is the casting of HBO veteran Danielle Deadwyler. It seems that the Abrams series, when compared to other anticipated series coming up, is expensive on a level where the risk isn't worth it to HBO: "House of the Dragon," for example, is highly anticipated and yet reportedly costing the network less money to produce. And while Abrams is a big name, his involvement won't automatically sell to the series to viewers on the level that the less-expensive prequel to "Game of Thrones" can (and for less money).

"Demimonde" is an unfortunate casualty of the entertainment industry business, and it shows that despite the large cache that Abrams holds, projects do slip through the cracks. Nonetheless, per The Hollywood Reporter, the overall deal between Warner Bros. and Bad Robot remains intact.