Max frights and delights by bringing back Pennywise actor for the It prequel show, and renewing award-winning comedy hit Hacks for season 4

Jean Smart in HBO Max's Hacks
(Image credit: Max)

There's some big news coming out of HBO Max, where the streamer has renewed one of the very best comedies and added a very familiar face to a much-anticipated horror sequel. The comedy is Hacks and the horror series is Welcome To Derry, the prequel to It.

The renewal of Hacks for a fourth season isn't a big surprise: it's had excellent word of mouth, great reviews and picked up multiple Emmy awards too. Although details of the plot haven't been revealed as yet it'll feature both Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbinder) in a new season of the comedy that packs an emotional punch as well as delivering lots of beautifully written and timed gags. 

If you haven't caught it yet it's highly recommended: season three, which is now streaming on Max in May, is currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and the show has an overall 99% rating. It's one of the smartest and funniest shows you can stream, a classic odd-couple comedy with surprisingly sharp teeth. 

Skarsgård's back to terrorize the children

Jean Smart in Hacks can be pretty horrible, but she's nothing compared to the sinister clown Pennywise from Stephen King's It – and Max has announced that Bill Skarsgård will be reprising his role as Pennywise in Welcome To Derry, which is the working title for the It prequel series. Skarsgård will star and executive produce the show, which is set in the same world as the movies but which will tell new stories over its nine-episode run. 

Once again plot details are still under wraps, but the show will take place before the events we've seen in the movies and may cast some light on how Pennywise came to be such a memorable and malicious character.

Streaming dates are some way off still but Welcome To Derry is currently scheduled for 2025. No date for season four of Hacks has been announced either, but May 2025 seems most likely. Seasons one to three are currently streaming on Max in the US. For viewers in the UK, the first two seasons are currently streaming on Prime Video.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.