|Copyright Warner Bros. Used with permission from Freeform.|
It’s a sad day for fans of Freeform’s Harry Potter Weekend events. For many years the cable network which is part of the ABC/Disney networks has been the home for Harry Potter movies on basic cable. The TV rights for the beloved fairy tale film franchise have gone back and forth between ABC/Disney and HBO/Cinamax. Most of the time, though, the TV broadcast/cable rights to the movies belonged to ABC/Disney, allowing Freeform (formerly ABC Family Channel) to air Harry Potter Weekend events three to four times a year.
Part of what makes Freeform’s special Harry Potter events so special is that they air editions of the movies that can’t be seen anywhere else. Warner Bros. only released director’s cut editions of the first two movies, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” on home video. None of the other six films in the series got director’s cuts. Freeform presented special editions of all eight movies with deleted scenes seamlessly edited into the films.
On August 9, NBCUniversal announced that they had acquired the TV broadcast/cable rights to all eight of the Harry Potter movies, plus the rights for the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” film trilogy. This will make the movies available to air on NBC, USA, and Syfy networks beginning July 1, 2018. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast. They also own the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Japan.
The Fairy Blog contacted Liana C. Yamasaki of Disney/ABC Television Group to find out the fate of Freeform’s Harry Potter Weekends. According to Ms. Yamasaki, "NBCUniversal has an exclusive deal and Freeform will no longer air Harry Potter after their window starts in 2018." That means that the Harry Potter Weekends are coming to an end in summer of 2018.
Until then, Potterheads can still enjoy Harry Potter Weekends for almost two years. Freeform has a Harry Potter Weekend event coming up in September. Please click here for my post with the dates and complete schedule.