6:00am PT by Alex Weprin
HBO Book in the Works From N.Y. Times, Bloomberg Reporters (Exclusive)
There’s a new book about HBO in the works.
Viking Books has acquired It’s Not TV, to be written by Bloomberg News features writer and editor Felix Gillette, and New York Times television writer John Koblin.
The Penguin Random House imprint won the book at auction in what is described as a “significant deal.” The deal was brokered by Elias Altman and Ethan Bassoff at Massie & McQuilkin. Allison Lorentzen will serve as editor.
Described as “the first in-depth history of HBO,” the book will cover the premium channel’s creative origins, all the way through its shift into streaming. The book's name is a play on HBO's iconic tagline "It's Not TV. It's HBO."
"Television is now at the forefront of our culture, and HBO is a big reason why," says Koblin. "How and why that happened — through its hit shows, its top executives, and the actors and producers and writers that were there every step of the way — and how the network's adjusting to the new reality of streaming, will be a close focus for us."
“Over the past half century, HBO has grown synonymous with quality entertainment and ingenious storytelling," Gillette says. "We’re excited to give HBO’s own story the rich, narrative treatment the network’s amazing history deserves. It’s a story of gutsy risk-taking, cultural innovation, shrewd branding, technological disruption and corporate intrigue. We can’t wait to tell it.”
It has been a turbulent year for HBO following AT&T's acquisition of its parent company Time Warner last summer. Longtime HBO CEO Richard Plepler left the company earlier this year. He has since started his own production company and signed a deal with Apple to produce content for the Apple TV+ streaming platform. Meanwhile, AT&T has been planning HBO’s next big move with the launch of HBO Max, a broader streaming service that will add more general entertainment fare alongside HBO’s signature programming, set to launch in a few months.
It’s Not TV is the second book about HBO to be announced in the past few months. In November, Vox’s Peter Kafka reported that journalist James Andrew Miller would be giving HBO the oral history treatment, similar to oral histories he has led about ESPN, Saturday Night Live and CAA.