HBO Max: ‘The Harry Potter Quiz Show’

I was contacted last week by a Casting Associate for a business that finds candidates for reality television programming. The show in question is HBO Max’ ‘Harry Potter Quiz Show’ and I received a message via the Contact page here at HogwartsProfessor because of my unofficial status as ‘Dean of Harry Potter Scholars.’ In a nutshell, they wanted me to name names of the Best and Brightest in Hogwarts Saga fandom who would be great on a five episode trivia contest game show.

Which was fun! After I’d given him my Top Ten choices, I asked for permission to post here about the Quiz Show and the website at which anyone and everyone can apply. Permission was granted — which shouldn’t have surprised me because, as is not unusual in this sort of thing, the programing and application site have been public knowledge for several weeks.

WizardingWorld.com, for example, announced the project and encouraged everyone to explain why they are the world’s greatest Harry Potter fan in an article titled, Celebrating 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film: A quiz show and retrospective TV special to launch later this year.

We know you love a Harry Potter quiz – so get ready for something really special. Later this year, an epic quiz competition series will be launching in the US from Warner Bros, challenging wizarding world fans to prove their knowledge. You’ll be able to tune in and join in with the upcoming quiz competition series across HBO Max, Cartoon Network and TBS, with international viewing plans to be announced at a later date.

The as-of-yet untitled quiz will feature four one-hour quiz challenges across four consecutive days and will finish with a retrospective special, all celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone’s film this year. So, get ready for a host of magic and challenges, and a celebration of that first film that introduced us to the wizarding world for the first time.

The quiz series itself will be celebrate the incredible fandom and their love of the Harry Potter films and stories – and will be open to contestants who are 14 years old and over, with fans of all ages able to join in from home. So, many generations of wizarding world fan can get involved!

The link embedded in that last paragraph takes the Willie Wonka Wanna-Be, the Charlie/Charlotte Bucket Brigade, to ‘HarryPotterQuizShow.CastingCrane.com,’ a site at which he or she makes their elevator pitch to the casting mavens about “why I would be a great contestant on this show.” Questions include:

  • What is your favorite Harry Potter film and why?
  • Who is your favorite Harry Potter character and why?
  • Why are YOU Harry Potter‘s biggest fan?
  • Do you have any Harry Potter hobbies, traditions, memorabilia, or collections?
  • Which Hogwarts house do you belong to? 

They also ask for pictures and a video clip, and, my favorite, a space for applicants to “List all past TV shows in which you have appeared (Name, Network, Year, Role, # of Episodes).”

Hollywood Reporter jumped all over this with an article that opens with the prediction, “The era of the Harry Potter TV series is officially beginning.”

The untitled competition quiz show, which is now casting via WizardingWorld.com, will feature super fans competing to answer trivia questions with special guests set to also be featured in the four-episode series. The show will lead into a retrospective special. An online play-along component will also be part of the game show.

The game show and retrospective are the first official TV offshoots of J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter franchise and come after WarnerMedia tapped Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics president Tom Ascheim to oversee the Harry Potter franchise for the studio. Both the series and special are exec produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted TV and Warner Horizon. Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton will exec produce the hourlong quiz show, while Casey Patterson (A West Wing Special, VAX Live) will oversee the retrospective. Sources say that while Rowling is not directly involved in either production, Warners collaborated with her team on the content….

The decision to expand the franchise for television comes as NBCUniversal in 2016 inked a rich seven-year rights deal with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution that included U.S. broadcast, cable and streaming rights to the Wizarding World franchise. That deal, which ends in April 2025, included digital initiatives as well as theme park content and events. The pact also meant Warners execs had to make a side deal that allowed all of the Harry Potter features to briefly stream on HBO Max when the service launched last year. The films left HBO Max after three months and recently returned to NBCUniversal streamer Peacock.

The decision to launch the quiz show and retrospective across HBO Max, Cartoon Network and TBS arrives as WarnerMedia continues to look for synergy across its portfolio in a bid to expose programming to a larger audience.

The Quiz-Show-Not-Yet-But-Soon-To-Be-Named, in brief, is the “first official off-shoot” into the television medium, an opening shot in the long term battle plan to create more excitement in younger fans about the Potter franchise and to revive enthusiasm in the Old Guard. This last challenge is especially significant in light of the Tweet Heard Round the World and Rowling’s subsequent cancellation by the Twitterati.

The good news? This is all in the hands of Rowling, Inc., so it will be done professionally and without sly sarcastic digs at The Presence and her feminism.

The better news? While no great fan of the medium and the sub-genre of programing here, a show of this kind will generate fresh interest in Rowling’s first series of novels, and (he writes hopefully), via trickle-down effect, more interest in her more recent writing, the Cormoran Strike novels.

The most exciting possibility? That one of my recommendations for Quiz Show Contestant or, best of all, a HogwartsProfessor.com Serious Reader is chosen and wins! Please take the fifteen minutes the application takes to fill out, young and old, to win a chance at stepping up to the Big Stage!

Comments

  1. Louise Freeman says

    My application is in!
    (A bit longer than 15 minutes there….)

  2. Sara Jucha says

    I applied! Such an exciting opportunity!!! This article is extremely well written.

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