Friends in High Places

(Above: ‘Friends’ will move to HBO Max next year)

HBO Max, announced yesterday, will debut in spring 2020 as a formidable competitor to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus (launching this November) and a still-unnamed NBCUniversal service (set for sometime in 2020).

How formidable? The new subscription streamer has very powerful friends – not just its parent company WarnerMedia, but the actual series Friends, which has been one of Netflix’s most-binged shows. (Netflix will also lose another of its powerhouse properties, The Office, to the new NBCUniversal service.)

Along with Friends, other Warner Bros. Televison properties to subscription-stream exclusively on HBO Max will include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars.

HBO Max’s 10,000-hour library will also include upcoming series from HBO and The CW, including: The Plot Against America, based on the Philip Roth novel and starring Winona Ryder and John Turturro; a new Perry Mason series starring Matthew Rhys; Batwoman and a Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene. (Stay tuned for details of how the inclusion of such DC Entertainment shows might affect the future of WarnerMedia’s recently launched DC Universe subscription service.)

And, of course, HBO Max will include its own original series, such as Dune: The Sisterhood,” based on the world created by Frank Herbert’s Dune; The Flight Attendant, a thriller starring The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco; and Love Life, a romcom anthology starring Anna Kendrick.

HBO Max did not announce pricing, but the existing and separate HBO Now subscription service –which only offers HBO programming and will presumably continue to operate – currently costs $14.99 a month. DC Universe goes for $7.99.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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