WarnerMedia names direct-to-consumer streaming service HBO Max

• HBO Max, scheduled to launch commercially in spring of 2020, is anticipated to premiere with 10,000 hours of premium content.

These details today from WarnerMedia in the US.

There were no details about any plans to roll out internationally. However a quote from Game Of Thrones author George R. R. Martin did comment on the service, which he said would be a “streaming platform that will carry all the great HBO programming around the world”. (See below.)

WarnerMedia has unveiled HBO Max as the name of its new streaming service, which will offer a direct-to-consumer experience for everyone ranging from families with young children to adults of all ages. Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO’s excellence and award-winning storytelling, 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.

“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

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:

Nicole Kidman

“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!”

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