WarnerMedia Streaming Service Gets A Name, Will Include ‘Friends’ Library, Greg Berlanti & Reese Witherspoon Films, CW Series
WarnerMedia has officially anointed its soon-to-launch streaming service HBO Max, which will carry full-season libraries of Friends as well as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars.
Under new arrangements with Warner Bros Television and others, all 236 episodes of Friends — a longtime mainstay of Netflix — will come to the new service, as will an estimated rollout of 10,000 hours of programming at launch. WarnerMedia has said a beta version of HBO Max will be out by the end of 2019, with a full-bodied version in spring 2020. An ad-supported offering is also in the works, though subscription will be the first phase.
Pricing remains a key strategic question. Disney’s reveal in April of its Disney+ service at just $7 a month has set forth a challenge for many competitors. WarnerMedia is in a particular bind, with HBO’s relationships with pay-TV operators (who have partnered to develop the network over many decades) keeping the price of stand-alone service HBO Now at $15 a month. Most observers expect WarnerMedia to price HBO Max above the current level for HBO Now, though the company and its parent, AT&T, have not yet disclosed pricing details. It is also unclear how — or if — HBO Max will be differentiated from HBO Now, the stand-alone service that has racked up 8 million subscribers since its 2015 launch.
Disney, NBCUniversal and Apple are all preparing major new entrants in the streaming wars, a long-developing response to Netflix’s steady climb to more than 150 million global subscribers.
Greg Berlanti, who is locked into a rich Warner Bros deal, is also going to be supplying four new movies for the service, and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films.
Hello Sunshine Debuts Kids and Animation Unit Led by Claire Curley
Hello Sunshine, the media company founded by Reese Witherspoon, has launched a kids and animated division to be led by Nickelodeon vet Claire Curley.
The unit will create content for younger audiences aged 3-5 and 6-9, “shining a light on where girls are right now and helping them chart their path forward,” according to the company. In her new role, Curley will develop a slate of animated kids’ content, and will launch with productions aimed at the preschool and younger grade school set.
The company has also brought on Zoe Fairbourn as head of brand partnerships, expanding on her working relationship with the company as a consultant developing originals and integrated marketing programs. Curley and Fairbourn are based in Los Angeles and will report to Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden.
“As we continue to grow as a company, we are excited to expand our content offerings to reach the leaders of our future and empower young girls through entertainment,” said Harden in a statement. “Claire and Zoe are extraordinary leaders whose decades of accomplishments represent the excellence we strive for at Hello Sunshine. With Claire leading this new venture and Zoe joining us full-time to head Brand Partnerships, we look forward to the breadth of experience they bring as we continue to redefine industry standards through inclusive and representative storytelling.”
Curley most recently served as senior vice president of franchise animation at Nickelodeon, after beginning her decade-plus tenure there as a director in digital content development and production. There, she built a digital production unit that developed and produced content in interactive, live action and animation formats. Series that originated through the unit include “Adventures of Kid Danger” and “Welcome to Wayne.” Prior to that, Curley was a producer and Sesame Workshop, where her contributions to “The Electric Company” led to a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Series in 2012.
Reese Witherspoon spills the beans on friendship with Big Little Lies co-star Nicole Kidman
Friends and business partners, Big Little Lies co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman share an intense and complex bond.
In an candid new interview with news.com.au, Witherspoon lifts the lid on their relationship, which — like that of so many female co-stars in Hollywood — has faced many a tabloid report of “secret feuding”.
“We’ve gotten along, we’ve had fights, and we’ve gotten over it,” explains Witherspoon.
The Oscar-winning actresses and producing partners clearly spend a lot of time together. “We’ve had every kind of experience together. We’ve been on vacation, we’ve worked together and we’ve disagreed about things, but I think that’s the beauty of having a real partnership with someone. Ours is a real friendship. It’s not a fake, phony Hollywood picture, you know? I really value that about our friendship.”
Prior to their collaboration as producers on Big Little Lies, they knew each other socially but became close friends once they started working together on the award-winning series, which is available to stream on Foxtel.
“Nicole and I were talking today about how fortunate we are to have each other through this (Big Little Lies) process. It’s the biggest success I’ve ever had with another woman, in my entire career, and hers. For me, to have that experience with her, to be in the trenches with her, it’s been everything.”
Both actresses are hands-on producers and were on-set much of the time.
Reese is featured in ‘This Changes Everything’, a new documentary about the under-representation of women in media from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. She is interviewed within the documentary, to talk about how she “started developing these projects with smart, articulate capable women” due to the lack of projects for women. The documentary will be shown on July 22nd in New York and California – find more information at the official site. Watch the trailer below (although Reese is not featured in it):
Told first-hand by some of Hollywood’s leading voices behind and in front of the camera, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING is a feature-length documentary that uncover what is beneath one of the most confounding dilemmas in the entertainment industry – the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women. It takes an incisive look at the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender discrimination and thus reinforce disparity in our culture. Most importantly, the film seeks pathways and solutions from within and outside the industry, and around the world.
Reese gave an interview for this Sooo Many White Guys podcast earlier this month. She chatted about why she started her production company, Big Little Lies, Ava DuVernay, Election, auditioning for Robert DeNiro, and recalled a funny story about Denzel Washington’s porsche when she was interning at the start of her career.
Phoebe and Reese Witherspoon Vote for Themselves
Phoebe talks to actress and producer Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies). They dish about the new season of Big Little Lies, the gender pay gap in Hollywood, and about that time that Reese had to park Denzel Washington’s Porsche when she was just an intern. Plus, Phoebe revisits one of Reese’s most infamous characters, Tracy Flick.
About Sooo Many White Guys
Phoebe Robinson is tired of being the token black woman in an ocean of white dude comedians. So in this podcast, Phoebe’s calling the shots. She’ll host intimate, funny and super honest conversations with musicians, actors, writers and comedians who are killing it in their fields–AND who aren’t white dudes! Stay tuned for the one token white guy (it’s only fair), and a whole lot of hijinks.
HBO’s award-winning series ‘Big Little Lies’ returns for its second season on June 9th. In order to prepare for the Monterey 5’s return, star and Executive Producer Reese Witherspoon reacts to moments from season one. Are you ready?
Reese Announces the 2019 AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab!
AT&T and Hello Sunshine want to send YOU to Los Angeles this summer to learn the art of filmmaking from some of the best in the business! The program, from AT&T, Hello Sunshine and Fresh Films, creates unforgettable opportunities for young women to build skills, learn from industry experts and get hands-on experiences in professional film production.Young women with a passion for storytelling and creating content can submit now through June 2nd at att.com/FilmmakerLab. The program is free and open to any experience level. Good luck!
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