The latest player in the streaming age is here.
Today, WarnerMedia announced its very own direct-to-consumer streaming service, calling it HBO Max. The platform brings together HBO, a huge slate of original content, and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more.
The platform is directed to all ages and will be “anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO’s excellence and award-winning storytelling.” The idea behind the MAX portion of the name stems from WarnerMedia “maximizing” their offering of programming, saying
“the new service will be “Maximized” with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia’s enormous portfolio of beloved brands and libraries.”
New deals with Warner Bros. Television and others for HBO Max announced today include:
- The exclusive streaming rights at launch to all 236 episodes of Friends — one of the biggest hits on television and in streaming
- The exclusive streaming rights at launch to all episodes of fan favorites The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars
- The exclusive streaming home to a string of new Warner Bros.’ produced dramas for The CW beginning with the fall 2019 season, including the highly-anticipated new DC Entertainment series Batwoman, and Katy Keene (spinoff of Riverdale)
- New exclusive movie production deals with Greg Berlanti, one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful producers, and Reese Witherspoon, Academy Award® and Emmy Award®-winning actress and producer; Berlanti will produce an initial four movies focused in the young adult space, while Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films
HBO Max, scheduled to launch commercially in spring of 2020, is anticipated to premiere with 10,000 hours of premium content.
“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform. HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is ‘Friends,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer.
Max Original series previously announced include:
- Dune: The Sisterhood, an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s book based in the world created by Frank Herbert’s book Dune, from director Denis Villeneuve
- Tokyo Vice, based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat starring Ansel Elgort
- The Flight Attendant, a one-hour thriller series based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, which will star Kaley Cuoco, who is also executive producing alongside Greg Berlanti
- Love Life, a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick, who will also executive produce alongside Paul Feig
- Station Eleven, a postapocalyptic limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, adapted by Patrick Somerville and directed by Hiro Murai
- Made for Love, a 10-episode, half-hour, straight-to-series adaptation based on the tragicomic novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting, also from Somerville and directed by S.J. Clarkson
- Gremlins, an animated series from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment based on the original movie
“Under the leadership of two of the strongest creative visionaries — Casey Bloys (HBO) and Kevin Reilly (original content and acquisitions) — and two of the most experienced digital experts — Tony Goncalves and Andy Forssell — I have no doubt they and their dedicated teams will deliver the world’s best storytelling to audiences of all ages wherever and whenever they want it.”
Highlights of HBO programming previously announced for 2020 and 2021 include:
- Stephen King’s The Outsider, a dark mystery starring Ben Mendelsohn, produced and directed by Jason Bateman
- Lovecraft Country, a unique horror series based on a novel by Matt Ruff, written and executive produced by Misha Green, and executive produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams
- The Nevers, Joss Whedon’s new science fiction series starring Laura Donnelly
- The Gilded Age, the opulent world of 1885 New York from Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes
- Avenue 5, high satire aboard a space-bound cruise ship from Armando Iannucci (Veep), starring Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad
- The Undoing, a psychological thriller from David E. Kelley, directed by Susanne Bier starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant
- The Plot Against America, reimagined history based on Phillip Roth’s novel written and executive produced by David Simon and Ed Burns, starring Winona Ryder and John Turturro
- Perry Mason, the classic legal drama for a new generation, executive produced by Robert Downey, Jr. and Susan Downey, with Matthew Rhys in the title role
- I Know This Much Is True, a complex family drama starring Mark Ruffalo playing twin brothers, one of whom has schizophrenia, based on the best-selling novel by Wally Lamb, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance.
Casey Bloys, programming president of HBO, continues to oversee content on the HBO service, with investment in HBO original programming having been increased 50% over normal spending.
Kevin Reilly, president of the Warner Media Entertainment Networks that include TNT, TBS, and truTV, also serves as chief content officer of HBO Max overseeing all new Max Originals and library content.
Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, now oversees the development of HBO Max with Andy Forssell, also from Otter Media and formerly CEO of Hulu, as the general manager.
Some of Hollywood’s most successful creators and producers are looking forward to the new service, including the following who are either producing for HBO and/or an upcoming HBO Max Original:
“WarnerMedia has three things going for it with this new streaming service. One, they have an incredible history and legacy of storytelling. Two, they’re super future-focused and trying to be the best. And three, they’re letting people like me embarrass myself episode after episode until I find love. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this family.”
“What’s exciting about HBO Max is that we have so many more resources and so many more voices of support for our show, and it’s an opportunity for other creators to have a bigger platform. I’m thrilled that my show will still be on HBO but now it will also be part of a new service that will reach more and more people.”
“What I’ve always loved about creating shows that connect with a young audience is that these fans grow up with the programs and will remember them for the rest of their lives. Now I get to do even more of that for HBO Max, where viewers will be able to discover shows on their own time, in their own way. Like any great novel, these shows will be there waiting for you. As a fan, what I’m personally most excited to watch on the service are all the great Warner Bros. movies that affected our entire culture and changed the way we live.”
“Working with HBO has been an entirely different level. People really care about these shows and they invest at such a high level. And now with HBO Max in the family, what I’m feeling is a greater sense of understanding and belonging that the family went from being a nuclear family to now there’s a couple more kids and there’s aunts and uncles and there’s cousins and they’re all cool. I want to go to that family reunion!”
“To be able to work for a company that’s allowed me to grow as an artist, as a woman, as a creator is a real gift. I love being part of this specific group of HBO programs that have meant so much to me. And lots of people are obsessed with the concept of streaming and now HBO Max is the future of the medium because it’s all just about continuing to tell really smart stories, and to me, that’s evergreen. I’m working on more projects for HBO as well as something very exciting for HBO Max and I’m just in heaven.”
“It’s the dream of every artist to create art that inspires and even changes people. I’ve had a glorious experience doing ‘Big Little Lies’ on HBO and I’m so happy to also be developing a brand-new original drama series for HBO Max. This bigger platform will enable even more people to see the work that I and so many of my friends have poured our hearts into creating.”
George R.R. Martin
“Back in 1991, after a decade in television, I began writing a series of novels that I knew would never be filmed. A GAME OF THRONES and its sequels were too big, too complex, too dark, too sexy, with a cast of thousands, gigantic battles, massive castles, direwolves, ice wights, and dragons. Too sprawling for a feature film, too expensive for television. I should have remembered, ‘It’s not television, it’s HBO.’ Working with HBO during the past decade has been a dream come true. What they did could not be done, but they did it anyway. And now they are embarked on a new venture. No, they won’t be tying their shows to the legs of ravens as I suggested… instead they are launching an exciting new streaming platform that will carry all the great HBO programming around the world… classic old shows and thrilling new shows, including (I hope) a return to my world of Westeros. Sign me up!”
“I have been part of the Warner Bros. Television family for over 12 years. I treasure my time on ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ and I am thrilled that our relationship continues to flourish in my new role as a producer on ‘The Flight Attendant.’ When I read the book more than a year-and-a-half ago, I was instantly obsessed with it — and with the idea of bringing it to the screen. I could not be happier to collaborate with the team at HBO Max to make this dream a reality. WarnerMedia has a long history of supporting storytellers and empowering them to fulfill their greatest potential. I am proud to be working with them on this series and cannot wait for viewers to have the opportunity to see it.”