Abbott Elementary will soon reach an even wider audience. Hulu and HBO Max announced on Thursday they will share streaming rights to the critically acclaimed ABC comedy. The series was the only broadcast show nominated in the top Emmys series categories.
The full 13-episode first season will debut on HBO Max on Aug. 20. As part of the existing agreements with ABC, Abbott Elementary will remain available on Hulu. New episodes will be available the day after their air on ABC, and complete past seasons will still be on the Disney-owned Hulu. HBO Max will get complete seasons before the next season debuts on ABC.
While the deal sounds unusual, Abbott Elementary does have ties to both Disney and HBO Max. The show is a co-production between Warner Bros. Television and 20th Television. Warner Bros. TV is the lead studio behind the series, so it's understandable that the company would want to see more rewards from Abbott Elementary's success.
Abbott Elementary was created by Quinta Brunson, who stars as Janine Teagues, an overly optimistic second-grade teacher at the titular Philadelphia school. Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and Sheryl Lee Ralph play teachers who also have to put up with an incompetent principal, played by Janelle James. William Stanford Davis plays the school's janitor, Mr. Johnson. The show is filmed in a documentary style, similar to The Office, which is why The Office vet Randall Einhorn directed the first five episodes and the Season 1 finale.
The series scored six Primetime Emmy nominations. Bunson earned nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress, and Outstanding Comedy Series as an executive producer. Williams, James, and Ralph were also nominated for their supporting performances. Wendy O'Brien was nominated for Outstanding Casting. Abbott Elementary is the only broadcast show competing in the Outstanding Comedy Series field. (There are no broadcast shows at all in the Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series categories.)
Following the show's surprising success in the Emmy nominations, ABC increased Abbott Elementary's Season 2 order. The second season will run 22 episodes and debuts on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET. The first season holds a 98% fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 90% audience score.