WarnerMedia today unveiled its much-talked-about direct-to-consumer streaming service, christening it HBO Max. In a press release, the company claims the streaming service will be "anchored" in HBO's reputation for quality television while being "Maximized" by programming from other networks in the Warner Media empire. The service is expected to launch in spring 2020.
This unveiling comes with a few new announcements about content coming to streaming competitor. Beginning in 2020, HBO Max will become the streaming home of The CW's scripted television, including the new DC series Batwoman and the Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene.
All 236 episodes of Friends will find a new home on HBO Max after leaving its current streaming home, Netflix. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars will also be a part of HBO Max's library.
The streaming service has also signed top tier creatives for a slate of exclusive content. These include Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti and Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning actress and producer Reese Witherspoon. Berlanti is signed to create four movies aimed at young adults. Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films.
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.
"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."
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