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Streaming has been top of mind for John Stankey since he took the reins of WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner) in June 2018.
The longtime AT&T executive has spent the better part of the last year lining up the executive team that will help make it possible for the company to join Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney and NBCUniversal in the streaming wars when it launches its direct-to-consumer offering at the end of the year.
The service is called HBO Max and will cost subscribers $14.99 per month when it launches on May 27, 2020, the same price as HBO Now, but with more content. An ad-supported version will also be available sometime after the launch.
HBO Max plans to air 31 original series in its first year, growing to 50 in year two.
Cable crown jewel HBO will be central to the upcoming service, which will also feature content from across the company’s entertainment brands, among them TBS, TNT, CNN and Warner Bros., which owns DC Entertainment and a vast library of current and one-time film and TV hits. Properties making their way to the service include Friends and The Big Bang Theory.
Ahead of the streamer’s launch, here’s a guide to the people in charge and the original programming they’re buying.
TOP DECISION MAKERS
Bob Greenblatt is chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer. Hired in March, the former NBC Entertainment chairman oversees the streamer service in addition to a television portfolio that includes networks HBO, TNT, TBS and truTV. Greenblatt’s purview also comprises the Otter Media division that owns niche brands Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen and has a minority stake in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. He reports to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.
Kevin Reilly leads the streamer’s programming as chief content officer, a title he holds in addition to his position running WarnerMedia Entertainment’s basic cable networks. The veteran executive, the only one to have led two broadcast and three cable networks, reupped his contract at through 2022 in May and reports to Greenblatt.
Sarah Aubrey joined the WarnerMedia streamer as head of originals in January. She reports to Reilly, who was also her boss when she led original programming at TNT. Known for prestige fare like The Alienist and The Leftovers, Aubrey now has greenlight power for both the TV shows and films at the direct-to-consumer offering.
Jennifer O’Connell is executive vp original nonfiction and kids programming, a role she took in May after departing her job running alternative at Lionsgate TV. She reports to Aubrey.
Suzanna Makkos is executive vp original comedy and animation programming, reporting to Aubrey. She took the role in May after several years at Fox, where she oversaw such projects as The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Joey Chavez is executive vp original drama, reporting to Aubrey. He was previously senior vp original programming at TNT, where he developed shows including Claws and The Alienist.
Jessie Henderson is executive vp original feature films, joining the streamer from Paul Feig’s Feigco, where she worked on Spy and A Simple Favor and developed the anthology series Love Life starring Anna Kendrick for the yet-to-launch platform. She took the job in June and reports to Aubrey.
Jeniffer Kim is senior vp international originals, leading worldwide content development for HBO Max, working in tandem with the U.S. originals team. She’ll also be responsible for finding co-production opportunities outside the United States and will continue working on comedy originals, focusing on stand-up specials. She comes to HBO Max from TBS, where she was senior vp original programming.
Tony Goncalves leads product and development at the streamer, a promotion in addition to his oversight of the Otter Media business. The longtime AT&T and DirecTV executive reports to Greenblatt.
Andy Forssell is executive vp and general manager of the streaming service, reporting to Goncalves. The former Hulu executive, and interim CEO, replaced AT&T’s Brad Bentley in the role.
Lizzie Fox is senior vp non-fiction programming, reporting to O’Connell. The Hollywood Reporter Next Gen alum comes to the streamer from CNN, where she oversaw Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and United Shades of America, among other original series.
Adventure Time: Distant Lands | The former Cartoon Network kids-focused favorite is returning for a series of four specials, each focused on a different set of characters including Jake and Finn. The first, “BMO,” premieres June 25.
Americanah | The 10-episode limited series based on the best-selling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will star Lupita Nyong’o (Us, 12 Years a Slave) in her first role in an American TV series. She plays a woman born in Nigeria who leaves for America and has extraordinary experiences with love, heartache, adversity and self-discovery. Nyong’o’s Black Panther co-star and Tony-nominated playwright Danai Gurira will adapt the book and serve as showrunner. The two executive produce along with Plan B Entertainment, Andrea Calderwood for Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del for D2 Productions and Nancy Won.
Aquaman: King of Atlantis | A three-part animated miniseries aimed at kids will follow the title character as he assumes the throne of Atlantis and discovers it’s not easy being in charge — especially with a half-brother who wants the throne for himself, surface dwellers causing problems and the threat of ancient evils. James Wan, who directed the Aquaman feature film, executive produces with Atomic Monster’s Michael Clear and Warner Bros. Animation’s Rob Hackett and Sam Register. Victor Courtright (Thundercats Roar!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) will serve as showrunners and co-executive producers.
The Boondocks | A “reimagined” version of creator Aaron McGruder’s animated series is set to bow in fall 2020. HBO Mas has ordered two seasons and 24 episodes of the show, which originally aired four seasons on Adult Swim from 2005-14. All 55 previous episodes of the series will be available at launch. The new seasons will follow Robert “Granddad” Freeman and grandsons Huey and Riley as they move to an idyllic suburban community in Maryland — only to see it taken over by the tyrannical Uncle Ruckus and his bizarre neofascist regime. McGruder serves as showrunner and executive produces with Norm Aladjem for Mainstay Entertainment, Seung Kim and Meghann Collins Robertson. Sony Pictures Animation produces in partnership with Sony Pictures TV.
Boys | A Very English Scandal and Queer as Folk executive producer Russell T Davies is behind this limited series (a partnership with Channel 4 in the U.K.) about the emotional journey of five friends amid the social upheavals and AIDS crisis of the 1980s. The five-part series comes from RED Production Company, a StudioCanal company, with Davies and Nicola Shindler (Years and Years) executive producing. Peter Boar (The Umbrella Academy) directs; the cast includes Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes, Callum Scott Howells, Tracy Ann Oberman and Lydia West.
Circe | The eight-episode, straight-to-series drama is based on Madeline Miller’s best-selling book of the same name. The drama is told from the powerful feminist perspective of the goddess Circe, who transforms from an awkward nymph to a formidable witch, able to challenge gods, titans and monsters alike. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World) will pen the script and exec produce the Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content series.
Close Enough | A “surreal” adult animated comedy that follows the lives of a married couple, their 5-year-old daughter and their two divorced best friends — who all share a house on L.A.’s east side and navigate the period of their lives that’s about growing up but not growing old — and also avoiding time-traveling snails, stripper clowns and murderous mannequins. JG Quintel (Regular Show) created the series, which is produced by Cartoon Network Studios. Premieres July 9.
College Girls | The comedy from Mindy Kaling — who signed a rich overall deal with Warner Bros. TV in February — centers on three first-year roommates at a college in Vermont. A bundle of contradictions and hormones, the sexually active girls are equal parts lovable and infuriating. Kaling is writing the show, which received a straight to series order, and will serve as showrunner. Howard Klein of 3 Arts Entertainment also executive produces.
DC Super Hero High | The comedy from Warner Horizon Scripted Television follows a group of students at a boarding school for gifted kids. The teens are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realize they will one day become superheroes. Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect) executive produces with her Brownstone Productions partner Max Handelman, writer Scott Weinger (90210, Galavant), John D. Beck and Ron Hart; Brownstone’s Dannah Shindler is a co-exec producer.
Doom Patrol | The second season of the DC Comics series, which debuted on fellow WarnerMedia platform DC Universe in 2019, will premiere on HBO Max on June 25 (while also remaining on DC Universe). The series about a team of misfit superheroes stars Brendan Fraser, Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Timothy Dalton and Joivan Wade. Abigail Shapiro joins the cast of Berlanti Productions/Warner Bros. TV series for season two.
Dune: The Sisterhood | The female-focused take on Frank Herbert’s beloved novel takes place in the same universe and explores the future through the eyes of a mysterious order of women: the Bene Gesserit. Denis Villeneuve, who wrote, produced and directed the upcoming feature film take on Dune, will helm the pilot. Writer Jon Spaihts exited as shworunner but will remain an exec producer for the TV series, which hails from Legendary Television. Villeneuve and Spaihts — who wrote the feature screenplay together — will executive produce alongside Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert for the Frank Herbert estate. Spaihts was HBO Max’s first showrunner exit.
Duster | One of three shows J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot has set at the streamer, the drama is set in the 1970s Southwest and centers on a getaway driver for a growing crime syndicate whose life goes from awful to wildly, stupidly, dangerously awful. Abrams and LaToya Morgan (The Walking Dead) are co-writing, based on an idea by Morgan.
Esme & Roy | The kids’ animated series from Sesame Workshop follows the adventures of two best friends, who are also the best monster-sitters in the town of Monsterdale. Premieres June 25.
The Flight Attendant | The thriller marks Kaley Cuoco’s first live-action follow-up since she wrapped her 12-season role as Penny on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Cuoco, who optioned the Chris Bohjalian best-seller, stars as Cassandra Bowden, a binge-drinking flight attendant prone to blackouts who wakes up one morning next to a dead body and begins to lie as she looks to fill in the blanks from the fateful night in Dubai. Sonoya Mizuno (Crazy Rich Asians), Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Colin Woodell (The Purge), Griffin Matthews (Dear White People) and Nolan Gerard Funk (Awkward) also star. Cuoco’s younger sister, Briana, has a recurring role. Cuoco executive produces alongside Greg Berlanti. Steve Yockey (Supernatural) will adapt the novel and serve as showrunner. Susanna Fogel (The Spy Who Dumped Me) will direct and exec produce the first two episodes. Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin will serve as co-showrunners. Due in 2020.
Frayed | Set in 1989, the Australian comedy series follows the journey of Sammy Cooper (series creator Sarah Kendall), a fabulously wealthy London housewife who’s forced to return to her hometown in Newcastle, Australia — where she must revisit her past and the events that led her to flee as a teenager. Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford of Merman executive produce with Kevin Whyte, Morwenna Gordon, Rick Kalowskiand Que Minh Luu. Premieres July 30.
The Fungies | The animated kids’ series from Stephen Neary (Clarence) and Cartoon Network Studios is set in prehistoric times and centers on Seth, a science-loving student at Fungietown Elementary. In his search for the ultimate scientific adventure, Seth often stirs up trouble for other residents of the town.
Generation | Executive produced by Girls creator Lena Dunham, the half-hour dramedy — the first HBO Max pilot to get a series pickup — follows a group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality (devices and all) tests deeply held beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community. It was co-created by 18-year-old Zelda Barnz and her father, Daniel Barnz (Won’t Back Down), who also directed the pilot. The cast includes Nathanya Alexander, Chloe East, Nava Mau, Lukita Maxwell, Haley Sanchez, Uly Schlesinger, Sam Trammell and Chase Sui Wonders with Justice Smith and Martha Plimpton. Dunham, Daniel Barnz and his husband, Ben Barnz, exec produce; Zelda Barnz is a co-EP.
Gen:Lock | Season two of the Rooster Teeth mecha animated series will have a first window on HBO Max before landing 90 days later at its original home. The series features a voice cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, Dakota Fanning, Maisie Williams and David Tennant.
Gossip Girl | Seven years after The CW drama ended, the streaming platform is teaming with original series creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and former showrunner Josh Safran for a 10-episode update of the former Blake Lively vehicle. The new take, described as an extension, takes place eight years after the original “website” went dark and follows a new generation of New York private school teens who are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The new take will address how much social media — and the landscape of New York — has changed in the intervening years.
Grease: Rydell High | A spinoff of the beloved musical (whose film version starred Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta), the 1950s-set series will feature some characters from the original and big musical numbers with songs from the era as well as original tunes. Rydell High comes from Paramount Television — which was behind Fox’s Emmy-winning Grease Live — Erik Feig’s Picturestart and Temple Hill (Love, Simon).
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai | The adult-focused animated comedy is a prequel to the 1984 feature film Gremlins. The 10-episode series is set in Shanghai in the 1920s and reveals the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai called Gizmo. Tze Chun (Gotham) serves as the writer and exec produces alongside Amblin Television’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.
Jellystone | The animated series features Hanna-Barbera characters including Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, Augie Doggie, Doggie Daddy, Jabberjaw, Captain Caveman and a host of others living in the town of Jellystone — where they can’t help but make trouble for one another. C.H. Greenblatt (Chowder) executive produces with Warner Bros. Animation president Sam Register.
Little Ellen | A 2D animated series that follows 7-year-old Ellen DeGeneres on a series of misadventures in her musical hometown of New Orleans. The 15-minute series, which has a 40-episode order, is from Warner Bros. Animation and Ellen Digital Ventures, with DeGeneres, Kevin A. Leman II and Sam Register exec producing.
Looney Tunes Cartoons | An animated series of 80 11-minute episodes featuring marquee Looney Tunes characters, including Daffy Duck and Porkiy Pig, in gag-driven shorts. Classic storylines will be adapted for present-day audiences. The series from Warner Bros. Animation is executive produced by Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa) and WB Animation head Sam Register; the voice cast includes Eric Bauza, Jeff Bergman and Bob Bergen. Premieres May 27.
Love Life | The comedic anthology stars Pitch Perfect favorite Anna Kendrick in a 10-episode journey that follows her character from first love to last love and how the people we’re with along the way make us into who we are when we finally end up with someone forever. Each season will follow a different protagonist’s quest for love, with each half-hour episode telling the story of one of their relationships. Kendrick executive produces alongside creator Sam Boyd. Paul Feig (who worked with Kendrick on A Simple Favor) will exec produce the Lionsgate TV series. Premieres on launch day, May 27.
Made for Love | The half-hour scripted comedy centers on Hazel Green (Cristin Milioti), a thirty-something woman on the run after 10 years of marriage to an unstable, needy and potentially sociopathic tech billionaire. She soon discovers that her husband has implanted a revolutionary monitoring device — called the Made for Love — in her brain. Patrick Somerville (Maniac) will adapt Alissa Nutting’s book of the same name for the Paramount TV-produced series. Ray Romano also stars as Hazel’s estranged father. Due in 2020.
Overlook | An offshoot of The Shining, the 10-episode series — which has opened a mini writers room — will feature characters from the Stephen King novel (and subsequent 1980 movie) and will explore the untold, terrifying story of the most famous hotel in American fiction. It comes from writers Dustin Thomason and Scott Brown (Castle Rock) and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot.
Raised by Wolves | The Ridley Scott-produced sci-fi drama, originally ordered to series at TNT, will debut on HBO Max instead. The 10-episode show stars Travis Fimmel (Vikings) and centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. Creator and showrunner Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) executive produces with Scott, David W. Zucker, Jordan Sheehan, Adam Kolbrenner and Mark Huffam; Scott also directs. Due in May 2020.
Rap Sh*t | Insecure co-creator and star Issa Rae is writing and executive producing this comedy about a female rap group from outside Miami trying to make it in the music business. Montrel McKay of Issa Rae Productions, Jonathan Berry (Insecure) and 3 Arts Entertainment’s Dave Becky also exec produce.
Santa Inc. | An adult animated series set at the North Pole and centered on Candy Smalls (Sarah Silverman), the highest-ranking female elf there. When the successor to Santa Claus (Seth Rogen) is poached by Amazon on Christmas Eve, Candy goes for her dream of becoming the first female Santa in the history of Christmas. Alexandra Rushfield (Shrill) created the series, which comes form Lionsgate TV and Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures.
Search Party | The comedy starring Alia Shawkat, which aired its first two seasons on TBS (the most recent of which came in late 2017), will move to HBO Max for its previously announced third season and a newly added fourth run. The move is intended to help the cult favorite reach a wider audience, after the second season averaged under half a million linear viewers (though substantially more than that across all platforms). Prevoius seasons will be available on May 27, and season three premieres June 25.
Sesame Street | The beloved children’s series, which moved first-run episodes from PBS to HBO in 2015, will head to HBO Max for the start of its 51st season in 2020 (episodes will continue to air on PBS several months after their premiere). Five new seasons will air on the streamer, which will also gain access to the show’s massive library of episodes. WarnerMedia’s deal with Sesame Workshop also includes annual specials and spinoff series, including a talk show hosted by Muppet Elmo. The latter, titled The Not Too Late Show With Elmo, premieres May 27.
Starstruck | Comedian Rose Matafeo created and will star in this six-episode comedy (also airing on BBC Three in the U.K.) about a millennial woman in London who works two dead-end jobs and has to navigate the awkward morning after when she discovers the complications of accidentally sleeping with a movie star. Matafeo executive produces the Avalon Television production with Jon Thoday, Richard Allen-Turner and Rob Aslett.
Station Eleven | The limited series, also from Maniac‘s Patrick Somerville, is based on Emily St. John Mandel’s book and takes place in a world where survivors of a devastating fly try to rebuild and reimagine the world while holding on to the best of what’s been lost. Hiro Murai (Atlanta) directs the Paramount TV series. Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire, Terminator: Dark Fate) and Hamish Patel (Yesterday) lead the cast; Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) will recur.
Strange Adventures | An anthology series from Warner Bros. TV featuring DC Comics characters that will feature close-ended morality tales about the intersecting lives of mortals and superhumans. Super-producer Greg Berlanti (The CW’s Arrow-verse, Riverdale) exec produces with Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter and John Stephens (Gotham). Charlie Huston produces and Selwyn Seyfu Hinds is a consulting producer.
Tig ‘n Seek | An animated kids’ series in which 8-year-old Tiggy and his gadget-building cat, Gweeseek, search for the lost items of Wee Gee City. The lighthearted mystery show comes from Myke Chilian (Uncle Grandpa) and Cartoon Network Studios. Premieres July 23.
Tokyo Vice | Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort will make his TV series regular debut in the 10-episode drama based on the nonfiction book by Jake Adelstein. The project is the author’s first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and details his daily descent into the neon-soaked underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is truly what or who they seem. Elgort will play Adelstein, the American journalist who embeds himself into the Tokyo Vice police squad to reveal corruption. Ken Watanabe also stars as a detective who becomes a father figure to Jake. Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) will direct the pilot.
Tooned Out | A live-action and animated hybrid series that centers on Mac, who starts seeing cartoon characters in his everyday life. But they’re not there just for laughs — they’re helping Mac get through a rough patch in his life. Writer Jared Stern (The Lego Batman Movie) executive produces with Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Jackie Levine. The show comes from A Stern Talking To Productions and Zemeckis’ Compari Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. TV.
The Uninhabitable Earth | From Adam McKay (HBO’s Succession), the scripted anthology — which sources describe as having a Black Mirror vibe — will tell fictional stories through the lens of a future that could result from rapid climate change. McKay will write and direct the first episode and enlist other top creatives for other episodes. McKay and Kevin Messick exec produce via Hyperobject Industries; wiip’s Paul Lee and Mark Roybal and Animal Kingdom’s David Kaplan and Andrea Roa are also EPs. The series is inspired by a nonfiction book of the same title by David Wallace-Wells, who will be a consulting producer.
Untitled Green Lantern series | A series inspired by the DC Comics character. Greg Berlanti — who co-wrote and produced the 2011 Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds — exec produces via Berlanti Productions. HBO Max head of originals Sarah Aubrey told THR the story will span several decades and focus on the origins of two Green Lanterns on Earth while also involving the Green Lantern Corps in space and fan-favorite character Sinestro.
Untitled Downs-Aniello-Statsky comedy | Jean Smart will star in a dark comedy as a Las Vegas diva who becomes a mentor to an entitled, outcast 25-year-old. Broad City alumni Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky wrote the pilot and executive produce with Mike Schur (The Good Place, Parks and Recreation), David Miner and Morgan Sackett. The show comes from Universal TV, Downs and Aniello’s Paulilu, Schur’s Fremulon and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Untitled Justice League Dark series | Details about the Bad Robot drama are being kept under wraps, but it will feature characters from the DC’s Justice League Dark comics, which include Zatanna, Dead Man, Swamp Thing and John Constantine.
12 Dates of Christmas | A holiday-themed dating series will take singles to a “picturesque Christmas castle” where they’ll ice skate, go on sleigh rides and sip hot toddies — while also dealing with the usual twists and turns of a dating show/real-life romantic comedy. The goal is to find someone to take home for Christmas. The series comes from Objective Media Group, an All3Media America company. Objective’s Jilly Pearce and Layla Smith executive produce with showrunner Sam Dean. Michael Beilinson created the series. Suzy Ratner is a co-EP.
The Big Shot With Bethenny | Business mogul and Real Housewives veteran Bethenny Frankel will front a competition series where contestants vie for a spot on her executive team. The eight-episode series comes from MGM TV, Frankel’s B Real Productions and Big Fish Entertainment. Frankel, Mark Burnett, Barry Poznick, Dan Cesareo and Lucilla D’Agostino executive produce.
Birth, Wedding, Funeral | The docuseries from Lisa Ling (CNN’s This Is Life) and Dan Rather will explore a different region’s culture in each episode through the lens of the three universal rituals in the series’ title, aiming to show what connects all people and celebrate the diversity of deeply rooted customs around the world. The series is part of an overall deal Ling has signed with HBO Max. Part2 Pictures produces the series; Ling, Rather and Philip Kim of Rather’s company News and Guts executive produce. Rather, Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre created the concept for the series.
Brad & Gary Go To … | The six-episode travel, food and fashion series will follow Hollywood couple Brad Goreski, a stylist and star of Bravo’s It’s a Brad Brad World, and Gary Janetti, a writer and producer on Family Guy and Will & Grace, as they go on a jet-setting culinary adventure around the world. The duo produce the show along with Purveyors of Pop (Ex on the Beach) and Entertainment One. Matt Anderson, Nate Green and Cooper Green executive produce for Purveyors of Pop and Tara Long for eOne.
Craftopia | Hosted and executive produced by popular YouTube creator Lauren Riihimaki (aka LaurDIY), the six-episode competition will feature contestants ages 9-15 taking on larger-than-life crafting challenges in a “magical studio.” Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher of B17 Entertainment also executive produce. Premieres on launch day, May 27.
The Dog House | A hit for Channel 4 in the U.K., the docuseries showcases the joy, comedy and pathos of the human-dog dating experience. It follows the stories of the animals who arrive at the center and the humans who are hoping to welcome a new four-legged friend into their lives. HBO Max has U.S. streaming rights to the show; it premieres July 30.
Ellen’s Home Design Challenge | Similar to Ellen’s Design Challenge, which last aired on HGTV in 2016, the series from Ellen DeGeneres (one of four projects she has at HBO Max) will challenge eight designers to push their creativity to the limits. DeGeneres will appear on camera to provide humorous color commentary on the designers’ work. The show comes from Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television and A. Smith & Co. Productions (which produced the HGTV series) in association with Telepictures and DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production. DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman and Arthur Smith are the executive producers.
Equal | The four-part docuseries from executive producers Greg Berlanti and Jim Parsons will profile landmark events and forgotten heroes of the LGBTQ+ movement, including Harry Hay, the Daughters of Bilitis, Christine Jorgensen and Bayard Rustin. The show comes from Warner Horizon Unscripted TV’s new documentary unit; Berlanti Productions and Parsons’ That’s Wonderful Productions both have overall deals at Warner Horizon parent Warner Bros. TV. Mike Darnell, president of unscripted and alternative at Warner Bros., will oversee alongside Brooke Karzen. Scout Productions’ David Collins, Michael Williams (The Fog of War), Rob Eric (Queer Eye) and Joel Chiodi exec produce, along with Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter, Parsons’ husband and That’s Wonderful partner Todd Spiewak and Raintree Ventures’ Jon Jashni (Lost in Space).
The Event | An eight-episode docuseries will follow team members at Wolfgang Puck Catering, led by the legendary restaurateur, as they create and work occasions ranging from Oscars parties to a 10,000-guest event for Adobe. Viewers will also get access to trade secrets and the creative development for some of the world’s most exclusive parties. Renegade 83 (Discovery’s Naked and Afraid) produces; the company’s David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe exe produce with Puck, Carl Schuster, Eamon Harrington and John Watkin.
Expecting Amy | A three-part documentary starring and produced by Amy Schumer that follows the comedian through her difficult pregnancy while she tours in preparation for a stand-up special. It also focuses on her marriage to chef Chris Fischer and the journey to his diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Directed and edited by Alexander Hammer (Beyoncé’s Homecoming), it premieres July 9.
First Dates Hotel | Based on a British format, the show will bring together single people from multiple generations at a boutique hotel for an intensive, tailor-made romantic experience. After first dates at the hotel restaurant or by the pool, matched couples can decide if they want to stay for a second date. Twenty Twenty Productions, which produced the original, produces with Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative, Shed Media and A Very Good Production; Ellen DeGeneres, Kleeman, Pam Healey and Dan Peirson exec produce.
Full Bloom | The eight-episode hourlong reality competition series follows budding florists vying to be crowned America’s best. Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin and Wes Dening exec produce.
Generation Hustle | A 10-part docuseries about the lengths young people will go to for fame, fortune and power. From exec producer Alex Gibney.
The Greatest Space | A globe-trotting design competition that will feature two-person teams traveling to a new city in each episode, where they’ll take cues from some of the world’s most glamorous and audacious designs to transform empty rooms — be they bedrooms, ballrooms or tree houses — into spectacular spaces. The series comes from New Media Collective (The Amazing Race) and Scout Productions (Queer Eye), with NMC’s Bertram van Munster, Elise Doganieri and Mark Dziak and Scout’s David Collins, Michael Williams and Rob Eric executive producing.
Heaven’s Gate | A four-part docuseries from CNN Original Series, it explores the biggest mass suicide on U.S. soil. From exec producers Clay Tweel, Ross Dinerstein (The Innocent Man) and Stitcher, the company behind the Heaven’s Gate podcast.
The House of Ho | A family docuseries in the spirit of Crazy Rich Asians, the eight-episode show follows the Ho family of Houston, led by patriarch Binh Ho and wife Hue, who immigrated from Vietnam and built a multimillion-dollar bank and a real estate development company. Children Judy and Washington, daughter-in-law Lesley, aunt Tina and cousin Sammy are also regulars in the series from Wallin Chambers Entertainment in association with Lionsgate TV. Katy Wallin and Stephanie Bloch Chambers executive produce; Amanda Ly and Rosalina Lydster are co-EPs. Premieres July 16.
Hot Dog | A comedic competition series in which three dog groomers compete in a series of challenges to create the best looks for several different breeds of pooch. Celebrity pet groomer Jess Rona heads the judging panel in the show from Jax Media and Making It‘s Nicolle Yaron.
Karma | Sixteen contestants ranging in age from 12 to 15 are taken off the grid to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges — with the laws of karma setting the rules. Focus, giving, humility, growth, connection, change and patience are the path to becoming the “Karma Champion.” YouTuber Michelle Khare hosts; executive producers are JD Roth, Adam Greener and Sara Hansemenn for GoodStory Entertainment; Fred Pichel is executive producer and showrunner.
Legendary | Ten voguing houses, each consisting of five young performers and a house “parent,” will compete in a series of fashion and dance challenges. Each episode will showcase a themed ball from start to finish, with the top house at the end of 10 episodes earning a cash prize and “legendary” status. David Collins, Michael Williams and Rob Eric of Scout Productions (Queer Eye) executive produce with Renata Lombardo and Shant Tutunjian. “King of Vogue” Dashaun Wesley serves as MC, and Megan Thee Stallion,The Good Place‘s Jameela Jamil, Law Roach and Leiomy Maldonado will be judges. Premieres May 27.
• Practical Magic prequel Rules of Magic, from Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones) and WBTV.
• Red Bird Lane, a YA drama from John Wells and WBTV.
• Delilah, a comedy about a young woman (Jessica Rothe) who, after a life-changing event, takes a first step toward putting her life back together by introducing herself to a complete stranger who may or may not be her father. Michael McKean, Arturo Castro, Nat Faxon and Nicole Byer also star.
• Finding Einstein, a docuseries executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres (and made with the blessing of Albert Einstein’s estate) that aims to find and support the next generation of potential Einsteins.
• DMZ, a drama (based on the DC Comics title) about a future American civil war in which Manhattan is left as a desolate demilitarized zone. Ava DuVernay directs and executive produces with writer Roberto Patino (Westworld). Rosario Dawson stars.
• The Shelley Society, from Riverdale‘s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Tessa Leigh Williams and James DeWille, is described as a Victorian X-Files, with a young Mary Shelley leading a band of Romantic outlaws (including her lovers Percy Shelley and Lord Byron) against all manner of supernatural threats and monsters.
• Single-camera comedy Gumshoe, from Conan O’Brien’s Conaco, centers on a sweet, optimistic young cop and a creepy, crime-obsessed teenager who team up to solve a murder. It comes from writers Aaron Brownstein and Simon Ganz (Santa Clarita Diet) and director Randall Einhorn (The Office, Lodge 49).
• Drama Vegas High is a 1990s coming-of-age story about a girl caught between the fast-paced lifestyle of Las Vegas and her strong Mormon faith. It’s inspired by writer Sarah-Raquel Jimenez’s own experience growing up. Gillian Robespierre (Mrs. Fletcher) will direct.
• Quinta Brunson (A Black Lady Sketch Show) will star in an untitled comedy from Warner Bros. TV about an ambitious millennial working at a media startup. She co-wrote the project with Michelle Nader (2 Broke Girls), who will serve as showrunner and exec produce with Danielle Stokdyk. Brunson is a co-EP.
• Comedy 1% Happy centers on a woman (Dani Fernandez, Ralph Breaks the Internet) who, after a particularly dark period in her life, moves back in with her dad and attends weekly therapy sessions with a group of oddballs. Fernandez and Daily Show regular Roy Wood Jr. are executive producing with Mainstay Entertainment’s Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Tim Honigman.
• Last of the Mohicans, a long-in-development adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel, has a script order. Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) and Nick Osbourne (Remember Me, All About Steve) are writing the Paramount TV project, and Watchmen‘s Nicole Kassell is attached to direct.
• All the Single Ladies is a docuseries, based on Rebecca Traister’s best-selling book, examining how unmarried women have been a societal force across American history. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, Dirty John) executive produces via her Deep Blue Productions and will also appear in the show. Traister, Abby Ex and Katie King also exec produce; Deep Blue head of content Elyse Klaits is overseeing the project.
• Head of the Class, a reboot of the 1980s high school comedy, has an order for a pilot and five additional scripts. The project from Warner Horizon Scripted TV is executive produced by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Whiskey Cavalier); Amy Pocha and Seth Cohen (American Vandal) will write the pilot and serve as showrunners alongside Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley.
• Young People, a multi-camera comedy about six very different 20-somethings who share a Brooklyn apartment, comes from The Office veteran B.J. Novak. HBO Max has given a multi-script commitment to the Warner Bros. TV project and opened a writers room.
• An American Pickle, the first original feature to debut on HBO Max, stars Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, an immigrant laborer in 1920 New York who falls into a vat of pickles at his factory job and is brined for 100 years. When he emerges in present-day Brooklyn and searches for his family, he finds his only living relative is great-grandson Ben (also played by Rogen), a coder whom Herschel can’t begin to understand. Simon Rich adapted his 2013 novella, and Brandon Trost directs.
• Berlanti will produce four YA-focused feature films for HBO Max.
• Reese Witherspoon‘s Hello Sunshine banner will also produce at least two feature films for the service.
• Let Them Talk, HBO Max’s first acquisition, stars Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Gemma Chan and Lucas Hedges and is an original comedy being directed by Steven Soderbergh.
• Monica Lewinsky and Catfish: The TV Show‘s Max Joseph are executive producing 15 Minutes of Shame, a documentary about the “epidemic of public shaming.”
• The Scoop, from CNN Films, is a documentary feature following the lives of CNN’s female political reporters as they cover the most unpredictable presidential campaign in American History.
• Persona, from CNN Films, is a documentary feature that explores America’s obsession with personality testing.
• Superintelligence, the original feature film comedy from New Line will be available at launch after it was originally earmarked for a Dec. 20, 2019, theatrical debut. Melissa McCarthy stars alongside Bobby Cannavale, James Corden, Brian Tyree Henry and Jean Smart. It follows a woman (McCarthy) who finds herself selected as a test subject by the world’s first superintelligent entity that takes over her life. McCarthy’s producing partner (and husband) Ben Falcone directs.
• Anthony Bourdain doc. Thee untitled doc will be produced by Focus Features and CNN Films and hails from director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom).
• Bobbie Sue stars Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) as a young lawyer who lands a career-making case, only to realize she’s been hired more for optics than for her expertise. Charles Stone III (Drumline) directs, and Donald De Line (Ready Player One) produces.
• On the Record is a feature documentary detailing sexual assault allegations against music mogul Russell Simmons from The Hunting Ground team of Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. HBO Max acquired the film after it premiered at Sundance in January 2020. Premieres May 27.
Conan O’Brien and his company, Team Coco, will produce five specials in HBO Max’s first foray into the stand-up comedy space. O’Brien will host two of them, featuring several up-and-coming comedians performing short sets. The others will be hour-long showcases for three comics. HBO Max has also acquired a special from comic Jason Veitch, also produced by Team Coco. Hourlong specials from Tracy Morgan, John Early, Rose Matafeo and Ahir Shah have also been picked up.
In addition to scripted originals, HBO Max will feature library content including mega-hits The Big Bang Theory, Friends, The West Wing, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Pretty Little Liars and Rick and Morty. All of HBO’s library fare, including Game of Thrones and The Sopranos, will be the backbone of the service. And, after ending its Netflix output deal, new originals from The CW and Warner Bros. TV — starting with Batwoman and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene — will also be available 30 days before their new seasons launch on the linear network. Library content from other WarnerMedia brands, including CNN, TNT, TBS, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, New Line and DC Entertainment, will also live on HBO Max. All 21 Studio Ghibli features from Hayao Miyazaki (including Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle) will also be available.
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