WarnerMedia unveiled some of its biggest programming plans to date for its streaming service. The central move has been expected for a while: it is not renewing its one-year deal for “Friends” on Netflix and instead making the sitcom exclusive to its new service, which will launch next year. The service will officially be called HBO Max, which we reported was the tentative title a few months ago.
The service will also have some other WarnerMedia-owned reruns like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” and a handful of movies and TV shows involving talent like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Riverdale producer Greg Berlanti.
Just as when NBCUniversal recently decided to pull “The Office” from Netflix, the streaming service’s executives are likely disappointed by the move. However, they’ve been preparing for it as they ramp up original content. As for WarnerMedia, the company has its work cut out for it to make this service a success. “Friends” alone won’t be a big enough draw. And as the title suggests, the service will largely draft off HBO’s brand name. If the new programs they’ve planned are a hit then it could help drive new sign-ups. If not, it could quickly get lost in the growing mix of streaming services.