News from early December 2022, including an update on "Pennyworth" on Showcase, and CBC's winter programming plans.
The Prince is an adult animated sitcom created by Gary Janetti, which is described by the producers as being a satire of the British royal family from the perspective of (a version of) young Prince George. The series was released on HBO Max in the United States on July 29, 2021, on less than one day's notice. For reasons we'll explain below, we think it may be a while before the series is available in Canada, if ever.
Based how poorly reviewed and otherwise controversial the series has been, we (and some other outlets) believe the U.S. release – with very little advance promotion and in the middle of the Olympics – was done in order to fulfill HBO Max's contractual obligations to the series as quietly as possible.
As The Prince was an animated series produced by 20th Television – a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company – and not directly by HBO Max or one of its related companies under WarnerMedia, the series is not part of WarnerMedia's overall output deal with Bell Media / Crave for most live-action HBO Max original programming. And it likely wouldn't be covered either by WarnerMedia's deals with Corus for animated programming – the deal that results in programs like Harley Quinn airing on Adult Swim Canada.
Instead, we expect that Disney would have retained the international distribution rights, outside of the markets where HBO Max operates directly. So it would be up to Disney to decide whether to (1) sell Canadian rights to another broadcaster – if any are interested; (2) release The Prince on Disney+ / Star in Canada; (3) release the series for digital sales only; or (4) not release the series at all in Canada.
At this point, we believe the most likely possibility is that Disney will try to avoid further controversy by either not releasing the series internationally, or very quietly releasing the program on Star as an 18+ offering. It could also release The Prince for sale (at a later date) through digital retailers like iTunes and Google Play, as has happened for other Disney-owned programs that have disappeared from the company's own TV and streaming outlets, like FX's Louie.
We realize that this may come as a disappointment to those in Canada interested in Janetti's work or the concept of the series, but given the response thus far, it looks like most of those involved are trying to distance themselves as much as they can from this series.