WarnerMedia D2C service is ‘HBO Max’

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Entertainment group WarnerMedia has unveiled HBO Max as the name of its new streaming service, designed to offer an impressive direct-to-consumer experience for everyone.

Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO’s award-winning storytelling, the new service will be ‘Maximised’ with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia’s portfolio of brands and libraries.

  • New deals with Warner Bros. Television and others for HBO Max 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 favourites 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 autumn 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; 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.

“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.”

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

Casey Bloys, programming president of HBO, continues to oversee content on the HBO service, with investment in HBO original programming having been increased 50% per cent 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,” commented Kendrick. “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.”

“It’s the dream of every artist to create art that inspires and even changes people,” declared Nicole Kidman. “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.”

“Back in 1991, after a decade in television, I began writing a series of novels that I knew would never be filmed,” remarked George R.R. Martin. 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!”

 


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