Shortly before Garry Shandling‘s tragic death Thursday, he completed a deal to return his classic “The Larry Sanders Show” exclusively to HBO.
“I loved Garry. We were fulfilling his wishes to see the show move to HBO,” Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko told TheWrap.
The show will appear on the network and its streaming services, another person familiar with the deal said. The Sony Pictures Television comedy, which aired from 1992 to 1998, featured Shandling playing a prickly talk-show host surrounded by sniping underlings. His supporting cast was a comical murderers’ row that included Janeane Garofalo, Bon Odenkirk, Scott Thompson, Jeremy Piven and Kathryn Harrold.
Every episode of “The Larry Sanders Show” was on the Sony streaming platform Crackle earlier this year. But two months ago, the service lost content rights, which returned to Crackle’s parent company.
After Shandling’s death Thursday, Crackle’s programmers became interested in making the episodes available again, but the exclusive HBO deal precludes that possibility.
Shandling, who also starred in “It’s Garry Shandling‘s Show” on Fox, died Thursday of a heart attack. In his later years he became a mentor to a generation of comedians, hosting Sunday basketball games where he dealt out advice and jokes.
Just as “It’s Garry Shandling‘s Show” deconstructed the typical TV sitcom — with Shandling breaking the fourth wall by talking to viewers, “Larry Sanders” upended the talk-show formula. Its reality bending premise featured a fictional talk show, led by Sanders/Shandling, that welcomed real-life guests.