Get ready to make “Friends” with HBO Max: That’s the name of WarnerMedia’s new direct-to-consumer streaming service, set to launch in the spring of 2020 with some 10,000 hours of content, including all episodes of ’90s hit “Friends.”
However, WarnerMedia still hasn’t announced pricing for the service, which will compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus, among others.
Under a new deal with Warner Bros. Television, HBO Max will have exclusive streaming rights at launch to all 236 episodes of “Friends” — which will roll off Netflix in 2020. “We’re sorry to see ‘Friends’ go to Warner’s steaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in the US),” Netflix tweeted after WarnerMedia’s announcement. “Thanks for the memories, gang.”
Netflix had reupped its deal with Warner Bros. TV for exclusive streaming rights to “Friends” through the end of 2019, but AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently said that WarnerMedia would be reclaiming popular titles that were licensed to others for its own subscription VOD service.
WarnerMedia also announced new exclusive movie production deals for HBO Max with Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon. Under the pacts, Berlanti will produce an initial four movies in the young-adult genre, while Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films for the service.
In addition, HBO Max will include all episodes of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” starring Will Smith and “Pretty Little Liars,” the ABC Family/Freeform hit — which also will be leaving Netflix.
Moreover, HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home new Warner Bros.-produced dramas for The CW starting with the fall 2019 season, including the DC Entertainment series “Batwoman,” and “Katy Keene” (a spinoff of “Riverdale”). CW shows going forward will be available on HBO Max beginning 30 days prior to the TV premiere of the next seasons of those shows. CW shows currently licensed to Netflix, which include “Riverdale,” “The Flash” and “Arrow,” will remain on Netflix for the next few years.
Overall, HBO Max will combine content from HBO with a slate of originals and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. In its announcement, WarnerMedia highlighted some of the content coming to HBO Max, including previously announced originals.