WarnerMedia Announces HBO Max Streaming Service

With Disney+ and Apple TV+ launching later this year, WarnerMedia is now officially throwing their hat in the streaming ring as well. Their new service will be called HBO Max, leveraging the HBO name that has become synonymous with high quality original TV content for many years now. The service brings together HBO, the best of several other Warner brands and libraries, and a handful of new original TV shows and movies as well. It is expected to launch in spring 2020 and some of the major offerings are as follows:

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 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.

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

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.

For a lot of people, Friends alone is a big deal, but that initial list of upcoming original content is not really all that impressive so far. Fortunately, the trailer does showcase a lot of other Warner-owned properties including DC Universe, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, TNT, New Line Cinema and truTV. That seems like the true value of this service, depending on how much of those libraries will be included. If they also throw in the Warner Archive, this could be pretty tempting despite all of the other competing services out there. Pricing has yet to be announced, however. Do you plan on subscribing to HBO Max?

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  • Glen

    I’m predicting stream cutting will become a new phrase in the future.

    There’s no way people will subscribing to multiply streaming services at the same time that would cost them as much as previous cable bills.

  • I thought HBO already streamed their content? (I might be mistaken since I’m not from North America)

  • Sean

    They do with HBO Now. This would be like an upgraded version of that, I believe.

  • Will HBO+ be free (i.d. included) for HBO subscribers and will those shows like Dune: Sisterhood also be broadcast on HBO or stream only? Hard to believe they would charge HBO subscribers extra for HBO+ to see shows that they don’t air on HBO. Doubt many would double-dip for that.

    With HBO+ nabbing the exclusive rights to Friends and – to a lesser extent – The Fresh Prince of Bel Air I’m intrigued to see how Netflix will survive all this content (Marvel/Disney, Friends, The Office) they’re about to lose. Outside of Stranger Things their original stuff doesn’t seem to haul in the audiences much.

  • Ben Bueno

    Watching TV is gradually becoming more and more of a nightmare. I’ll stick with movies, thanks!