AT&T's Warner to release HBO Max, a new streamer to take on Netflix and Apple TV+
It is an open secret that AT&T has different plans for HBO than the renowned content creator had for itself, and the chief executive of HBO recently left in a sign he didn't agree with the new direction. John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T's WarnerMedia wants HBO to be more like Netflix. Translation: making way more original programming and throwing it at the user wall to see what sticks. That's against the HBO grain as Richard Plepler, its former CEO, created it - he took more time choosing and creating shows.
The immense success of HBO shows like Game of Thrones only underwrites Mr Plepler's strategy, but now that AT&T is at the helm, we may be treated to more shows concocted in more haste and, perhaps, more "mishaps" that give AT&T customers an advantage.
Soon, they will be able to stream hit HBO shows directly to their mobile devices as part of a new video service, too. The new streamer had a working title of "HBO and more," according to John Stankey, and AT&T was preparing to cut the ribbon towards the tail end of 2019.
Warner just came out with a press release detailing the finalized name and launch date of the service. It will be called HBO Max, which is much zingier than "HBO and more," of course. It will arrive next spring, a few months after Apple's TV+ that is expected in the fall, making a crowded field even more brimming with movies and TV shows than it is now.
AT&T's Warner hasn't set a subscription price yet but give all that will be folded in, and all of the original programming, it is unlikely to be as cheap as Disney's newly-minted streaming effort. For a flying start, it will have all 236 episodes of Friends which Netflix will lose the rights to at the end of this year.
All HBO Max channels, TV shows and original programming
For starters, the new HBO Max service will be folding all of these content providers - HBO, New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, etc. - plus a bunch of exclusive and original programming:
- “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
- 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
- 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.
This is already shaping up to be an impressive roaster of more than 10,000 new hours of content, plus everything that HBO and Warner have to offer so far, some of the best moments on television, so we can't wait to see if AT&T will be folding HBO Max in some of its carrier plans at some point.