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Originally a private cable network, then a premium cable channel, then a mini-network of specialized and dedicated channels, HBO has evolved into a powerhouse of original content production. Game of Thrones is its most obvious success story. But series like Deadwood, The Sopranos, Westworld, True Detective, The Wire, Sex and the City, Girls, and many more have made the network a strong contender in the crowded streaming landscape. With the launch of HBO Max, the network’s offerings have been paired with major titles from Warner Bros., DC, Studio Ghibli, and more. The Verge can help you sort through HBO’s new content and follow its evolving business model as it looks for its next Game of Thrones.

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The second season of The Last of Us will debut in 2025

In a new teaser, Max confirmed the second chapter of the critically acclaimed show will arrive in 2025 along with the next seasons of Euphoria and The White Lotus.

A24 is bringing its entire theatrical slate to HBO, Max, and Cinemax

A new deal with Warner Bros. Discovery will put over 100 films on its platforms as well as future new releases.

“And no war so bloody as a war between dragons.”

Warner Bros Discovery debuted the season 2 trailer for House of the Dragon at CCXP in Brazil today. The season’s eight episodes will start streaming on Max in summer 2024.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that House of the Dragon is bringing in some new actors, as well:

The production also announced additional actors joining the show: Clinton Liberty as Addam of Hull, Jamie Kenna as Ser Alfred Broome, Kieran Bew as Hugh, Tom Bennett as Ulf, Tom Taylor as Lord Cregan Stark and Vincent Regan as Ser Rickard Thorne.

The Verge
Blue Beetle will start streaming on Max next week.

I missed this in theaters, but I’m excited to catch up on it when it debuts on November 17th, as Warner Bros. Discovery announced yesterday.

Maybe the movie is a decade late, as Charles said in his review. But as a person who’s always fallen more on the DC side of the fence, this bit from his review’s opening paragraph has me looking forward to finally seeing it, anyway:

Blue Beetle feels like the end result of a creative team thoughtfully executing a plan to replicate certain elements of what’s made rival studio Marvel’s films so successful — and not just Warner Bros. clumsily trying to play catch-up.

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Meet Casey Bloy’s embarrassing troll ‘army’.

Everyone assumes companies are out there attempting to manipulate online discourse to boost the profile of their own product, but rarely do we have evidence as sad trombone as the text messages coming out of the wrongful termination lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court between HBO and former staffer Sully Temori. The text messages, acquired and seemingly verified by Rolling Stone, reveal HBO CEO Casey Bloys’ often petty directives to troll online critics of HBO shows.

Listen to Casey Bloys avoid responding to my question about the upcoming Harry Potter show on Max.

He said there wasn’t enough time left to answer my question — but he also promised that Warner Bros. Discovery will some day. I’ll be waiting!

Casey Bloys didn’t address why Max greenlit a major new Harry Potter franchise in light of J.K. Rowling’s controversial comments toward the transgender community.

To be fair to Bloys, I asked him about it at Code 2023 at the end of his allotted time on stage. “With one minute left in our conversation, I’m not even going to get into that because that is a much longer, longer conversation.”

I tried to push him — Bloys deferred a similar question when the major new show was announced in April — and asked when Warner Bros. Discovery might talk about this. “At some point, we will,” Bloys said. “But not with a minute for a very complicated, nuanced topic, and I’m not going to do it.”

Max will only show CNN breaking news alerts for “big, big newsworthy” events.

HBO CEO Casey Bloys says Max won’t constantly interrupt your Succession streaming with breaking news alerts from CNN, as some reports previously suggested. Bloys says the event would “have to be really big to interrupt programming.”

HBO’s Casey Bloys thinks the streaming bundle was inevitable.

That isn’t a surprise given he works for David Zaslav, who has already started bundling his variety of streaming services and channels together into one super streaming app that replicates cable—right down to the monthly bill.

Max recently announced it’s bringing live CNN to the service.

“I am holding out the need for soul and human stories.”

Casey Bloys, the chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, is pretty bearish on AI-generated TV shows and movies right now.

Casey Bloys premiered a new trailer for True Detective season 4 at Code 2023.

It stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. It looks excellent — and I’ve embedded the trailer below.

True Detective: Night Country kicks off on January 14th.

The Verge
CNN’s 24/7 livestream hits Max today.

If you’re subscribed to Max, you can gain free access to a constant stream of news and original content from CNN starting today from the service’s News Beta or CNN Max Hub sections.

Some of the programming that will appear during the 24/7 stream include Anderson Cooper 360, The Lead with Jake Tapper, and Amanpour, along with new shows “built specifically for the Max streaming audience,” like CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta.

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The marathon meeting that helped end the writers strike.

The Hollywood Reporter has a good read this morning on the last-minute negotiations to end the writers strike. It seems to come pretty much entirely from the studios’ perspective, but it’s a good read anyway.

Apparently the writers guild and the studios were barely even negotiating — everybody was waiting on the other side to make a move. But with the help of some showrunners and some late-night negotiating, a deal finally got done. And then almost fell apart. And then finally got done for real.

The new WGA contract will change how Hollywood works

Historic raises and guarantees on AI use will have major ramifications in Hollywood, but the new transparency in streaming data means Netflix and Disney Plus will have to change how they work.

Band of Brothers and The Pacific are now streaming on Netflix.

You can now watch two more major HBO series on Netflix. We already knew the Warner Bros. Discovery shows would be showing up on Netflix, but it’s still a big deal.

Max is helping you find the ones to watch.

Just like Netflix, Max will now show you a carousel of the top 10 most popular TV shows and movies on the platform. The streamer says it will refresh the list on a daily basis.

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Save your show for another day.

Sam Levinson and The Weeknd’s unfathomable, anti-sexy, HBO drama The Idol has been canceled after only one season. The show, which concluded early with five episodes instead of six, was criticized for its regressive, lurid depiction of sex and stardom. Back in June, it was rumored that the show had been canceled mid-season. Now that rumor is official.

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Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly cutting members of HBO and Max’s marketing team.

According to Variety, the number of layoffs is in the “double digits,” but it doesn’t affect the company’s content division. Warner Bros. Discovery has had a rocky last few months, as it put productions on pause due to the Hollywood strikes, and lost subscribers following the rebranding of HBO Max to Max.

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Max could start streaming live sports as soon as October.

The service is getting ready to launch a new sports streaming tier in time for the MLB playoffs in October, according to a report from CNBC.

Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly plans on airing the MLB games, along with upcoming games from the NBA, NHL, and NCAA, on cable and Max at the same time. The new tier will also incorporate highlights and interviews from its sports-focused Bleacher Report outlet, CNBC reports.

The Righteous Gemstones is coming back for a fourth season after the strikes are over.

Ahead of The Righteous Gemstones’ upcoming season 3 finale this Sunday, HBO’s renewed the show for yet another season of saintly and sanctified bullshittery that it’ll be able to start production on once Hollywood’s ongoing double labor strike is over.

As expected, the Craig of the Creek spin-off looks pretty sweet.

Craig of the Creek’s adventure-filled world has always been pretty expansive, but this fall, it’s getting even bigger with the arrival of Jessica’s Big Little World, a new spinoff series from Matt Burnett, Ben Levin, and Tiffany Ford about Craig’s (Philip Solomon) little sister Jessica (Lucia Cunningham) stepping out into the world.

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Two episodes in, The Idol doesn’t seem to have the heat.

After all the drama surrounding (HBO) Max’s The Idol from Sam Levinson, one would hope the show might actually have something interesting to say that warranted co-creator The Weeknd’s pre-premiere theatrics. But as Variety so elegantly puts it, at two episodes in:

“It’s a bit frustrating to watch a show so plainly and plaintively depict the quest towards perfection in a way that seems so clumsily unable to get to ‘consistently pretty good.’”

Chris Licht is out at CNN.

So to recap: about a year ago, Chris Licht took over CNN and immediately announced the CNN Plus streaming service would Go90 within 30 days of its initial launch.

This was at the direction of now-Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav as he attempted to remake CNN. But after a devastating profile in The Atlantic outlining a year-long “meltdown” causing low employee morale and low ratings, it’s over — WBD confirmed Licht’s resignation this morning.