Photo-Illustration:CNN/Shutterstock/IMDB
Now playing
04:15
Netflix is winning streaming. Disney wants to change that
B25_25594_R
James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in 
NO TIME TO DIE,
an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film
Credit: Nicola Dove
© 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Nicola Dove/EON Productions/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
B25_25594_R James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in NO TIME TO DIE, an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Now playing
02:39
Amazon is buying MGM for $8.45 billion
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 16: President and CEO, Discovery, Inc. David Zaslav speaks onstage during the Discovery, Inc. TCA Winter Panel 2020 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 16, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.)
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 16: President and CEO, Discovery, Inc. David Zaslav speaks onstage during the Discovery, Inc. TCA Winter Panel 2020 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 16, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.)
Now playing
02:24
AT&T spins off WarnerMedia, combines it with Discovery
Detail of a mans hand scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro, taken on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Future Publishing via Getty Imag
Detail of a mans hand scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro, taken on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:37
Netflix shares drop after subscribers miss
nickelodeon/from youtube
Now playing
01:33
'Real World,' 'Frasier,' 'Spongebob:' See the reboots coming to this new streaming service
Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and director Zack Snyder on the set of 'Justice League.'
Warner Bros.
Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and director Zack Snyder on the set of 'Justice League.'
Now playing
01:02
See the new trailer for the 'Justice League' director's cut
Detail of a mans hand scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro, taken on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Future Publishing via Getty Imag
Detail of a mans hand scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro, taken on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Now playing
04:27
2020 was supposed to be the year of streaming. Instead, it was the year of Netflix
Now playing
01:47
Discovery CEO: Discovery+ has a library as big as Netflix's
Now playing
01:54
Warner Bros. to stream all 2021 films while in theaters
Paul Bettany is Vision and Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+.
Marvel Studios/Marvel Studios
Paul Bettany is Vision and Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+.
Now playing
01:07
See the Marvel 'WandaVision' series trailer
From Walt Disney Studios/Disney+/YouTube
Now playing
01:01
'Hamilton' movie trailer released ahead of Disney+ premiere
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-To-Consumer, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-To-Consumer, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
Now playing
03:30
HBO Max is here. Its boss explains why it's worth the price
Ivan Marc/Shutterstock
Now playing
03:01
Disney is investing big in streaming. Here's why
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-To-Consumer, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-To-Consumer, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
Now playing
02:15
Here's a first look at the new HBO Max
John General
Now playing
03:17
Why Amazon Prime Video isn't Netflix
Photo Illustration/CNN
Now playing
02:00
Disney+ will lure millennial subscribers with nostalgia
CNN —  

Some of the greatest American sitcoms of our generation, from “The Office” to “Friends,” could be leaving Netflix, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As NBCUniversal prepares to launch its own streaming service, it has “begun internal discussions about removing ‘The Office’ from Netflix” after Netflix’s contract to air the show expires in 2021, according to the Journal.

When they aired, the shows were tentpoles of NBC’s prime time comedy lineup, and the network that birthed them may want to bring them home.

CNN reported in January that NBCUniversal will launch its own streaming service in 2020. At the time, NBCUniversal had said it would continue “to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service.”

That statement implied the popular NBC shows could remain on Netflix, but now that outlook may be changing.

Netflix is notoriously tight-lipped about releasing its metrics on how many viewers are binging any particular show, but “The Office” and “Friends” are the shows fans spend the most time watching on the platform, according to the Journal story, and “The Office” wins that numbers race by a long shot.

Bao Nguyen, a spokesman for Netflix, clarified that “The Office” and similarly beloved shows available on the service rack up watch time, partly because of the sheer number of seasons offered.

For years, however, the service has been emphasizing its original shows and films, such as “Stranger Things” and “Bird Box,” in lieu of older TV shows or films for which it acquires rights. So in terms of the most widely watched shows, “Netflix originals accounted for 10 out of 10 in the last quarter,” Nguyen wrote in an email.

But even Netflix’s second-most show, in terms of minutes watched, is incredibly valuable: Netflix landed the rights to “Friends” at the reported price of $80 million or $100 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller on "Friends."
Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller on "Friends."

The high stakes discussions over “The Office” and “Friends” are just one more chess move as media giants set up their own streaming services.

The coming streaming wars

Disney is launching a streaming service this year and WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN, plans to launch its own service by the end of 2019.