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Warner's Netflix rival named HBO Max, launching spring 2020

10 Jul 2019 | Rasmus Larsen |

WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service will be named HBO Max and will include all episodes of Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air when it launches in spring 2020.

HBO... maximized

WarnerMedia says that its new streaming 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".

This covers existing and new content from HBO, Warner Bros, New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, and other studios that are now under AT&T's WarnerMedia umbrella.

- "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.

The company confirmed that HBO Max will include all 236 episodes of Friends as well as all episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars along with new originals such as Dune: The Sisterhood and animated series Gremlins.

At launch, it is expected to feature 10,000 hours of content. See the table at the bottom for more confirmed originals.

- "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," said Robert Greenblatt.

HBO Max streaming service

Friends is leaving Netflix

Friends continues to be one of the most popular TV shows even as we are transitioning to a new streaming era. It is currently available on Netflix but it will be removed from the US library later this year.

- "The One Where We Have To Say Goodbye. We’re sorry to see Friends go to Warner's streaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in The US). Thanks for the memories, gang," Netflix said in a statement.

It is not clear how the existing HBO Now streaming service fits into these plans but the WSJ previously reported that WarnerMedia's new streaming service, HBO Max, will likely cost $16-17 dollars per month, making it more expensive than Netflix. WarnerMedia has yet to confirm pricing details.

No details regarding platform support or picture/audio quality were provided.

As part of the announcement WarnerMedia also confirmed that the launch of HBO Max has been delayed from late 2019 to spring 2020. WSJ previously reported that a "beta" will be available later this year.

HBO Max originals

- 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.
- Source: WarnerMedia

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