'Friends' to officially leave Netflix for new WarnerMedia streaming service

WarnerMedia will use ‘Friends’ to stock its new HBO Max streaming service starting next year

Logo for WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service

The CW network's upcoming Batwoman show and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene is also destined to stream on HBO Max, resulting from The CW winding down its previous streaming deal with Netflix. Though HBO Max is billed as a direct-to-consumer service, AT&T executives have hinted that it will also be pay-TV friendly, likely meaning that cable operators and other distributors will also have an opportunity to sell HBO Max to their video customers. As part of the deal, HBO Max is paying $425 million over the next five years to become the exclusive streaming home for Friends, a Warner Bros. -owned series.

Already revealed as HBO Max originals are Denis Villeneuve's Dune: The Sisterhood, a series adaptation from Frank Herbert's sci-fi universe; Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic limited series; an animated Gremlins series based on the original 1980s classic from Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros.

However, most of the Max Originals (as they're being called) are focused more on adults and young adults, including two films from Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine studio and four YA movies from Greg Berlanti.

Kevin Reilly, president of the Warner Media Entertainment Networks that include TNT, TBS, and truTV, also serves as chief content officer of HBO Max overseeing all new Max Originals and library content.

There's no price set for HBO Max yet - though right now the current HBO Go service costs $14.99 per month - or any release date beyond 2020. Rather than this being a separate streaming service, it looks more to be an extension of an established HBO brand.

HBO Max will debut in the spring of 2020, and promises "10,000 hours of premium content" at launch. "Thanks for the memories, gang", the company said.

That said, Warner Bros. has a lot of good content. HBO and Friends are just the tip of the iceberg.

Also, subscribers will have to choose whether they now want to spend the reported $15-18 a month on HBO Max. Highlights of HBO programming previously announced for 2020 and 2021 include Stephen King's The Outsider, Lovecraft Country from Misha Green, Jordan Peele, and J.J. Abrams, The Nevers, The Gilded Age, Avenue 5, The Undoing, The Plot Against America, Perry Mason, and I Know This Much is True.

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