HBO and the BBC have reached a deal to collaborate on the latter's production of His Dark Materials. This deal has taken place later in the day than is usual for such agreements, with the first season of the show already in production in Wales.
The deal will see His Dark Materials air on HBO in the United States and on various subsidiaries and partner channels worldwide. HBO will also co-fund later seasons of the show; the series is expected to last for five seasons of eight episodes apiece. The HBO deal is likely why the BBC felt confident enough to greenlight a second season of the series earlier this week.
This move will also allay budget concerns - even with New Line's help, this is one of the most expensive TV shows ever made by the BBC - and should also allow the show to follow a more aggressive production timeline. Actress Dafne Keen, who is playing lead character Lyra, has just turned 13 and is expected to star in all five seasons, meaning she will be 17 by the time the final season finishes shooting assuming a one season-per-year schedule (Lyra goes from 12 to 13 in the course of the novels). This will be exacerbated if the show goes 18 or 24 months between seasons.
The first season of His Dark Materials is expected to air before the end of 2018.