HBO Max is getting into the stand-up comedy business, with some help from Conan O’Brien.
The late-night host will produce a series of comedy specials for the WarnerMedia streaming platform, the company announced Tuesday at HBO Max’s formal unveiling. The specials, featuring comedians hand-picked by O’Brien, grow out of a joint venture WarnerMedia and O’Brien’s company Team Coco entered into last year.
That venture included a format change for Conan on TBS — which now airs half-hour nightly episodes — a live stand-up tour and original digital material.
Team Coco will produce five specials for HBO Max. O’Brien will host two of them, which will feature several up-and-coming comics doing short sets. The remaining three will feature a solo performer doing an hourlong set. Additionally, HBO Max has purchased rights to a one-hour special from comic James Veitch, also produced by Team Coco.
“Partnering with our very own king of comedy for these specials was a no-brainer as we build up premium content for HBO Max,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max and president of TBS, TNT, and TruTV — and a longtime O’Brien champion. “Delivering laughs and discovering comedic talent is what Team Coco is all about.”
The Team Coco specials represent HBO Max’s first foray into stand-up comedy, which is a staple of fellow streamer Netflix’s business. Amazon’s Prime Video aired its first stand-up special, from Jim Gaffigan, in August and has acquired several others.
HBO Max is set to launch next spring with library content from across all of WarnerMedia’s properties, from HBO to Cartoon Network. The streaming service also has ordered more than 20 original scripted and unscripted series and is developing several others.