Quickly responding to the currently locked down studio production environment, HBO Max today announced a “second wave slate” dominated by animation and reality genre original shows.
HBO Max, the streaming service that will combine copious original shows with library content from Turner Networks, HBO, Warner Bros., and other sources within AT&T’s WarnerMedia business, will launch May 27.
Many of the scripted shows that AT&T and WarnerMedia had originally planned to be ready for that launch have been delayed because studio operations are shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The workaround is focusing on animated shows, documentaries and other unscripted content that can be produced amid the quarantine.
Debuting June 18, and running throughout a summer laden with bored, stuck-at-home viewers, HBO Max’s “second wave” of originals will kick off with reality competition show Karma, featuring kids ages 12-15 positioned “completely off the grid, away from the comforts of home, to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges.”
Produced by veteran reality makers JD Roth, Adam Greener and Sara Hensemenn, with Fred Pichel (Top Chef) show-running, Karma seems like a kind of Survivor, with a group of low-comorbidity stars, isolated from their more vulnerable parents and grandparents, engaged in a competition theme that’s a little more pro-social and less cutthroat.
Available July 16, Expecting Amy is a three-part documentary, focused on comedian Amy Schumer as she battles through a difficult pregnancy while documenting the development of her comedy special. Again, you don't need a studio to finish this.
As mentioned, the summer slate is heavy on animation, a video content genre that’s proving a little easier to manage remotely amid the pandemic. And featured in an inaugural HBO Max summer chock full of toons will be four-part special Adventure Time: Distant Lands. Created by Pendleton Ward, executive produced by Adam Muto, and adapted from the Peabody-winning Adventure Time franchise, the first installment is focused on “lovable robot” BMO.
HBO Max cartoons will also include Myke Chilian’s Tig n’ Seek, which follows “an upbeat and eccentric 8-year-old boy named Tiggy and his cat, Gweeseek,” as well as Close Enough, from JG Quintel, Emmy-winning creator of Regular Show.
WarnerMedia has been able to get some of its original scripted shows finished. For example, HBO original An American Pickle, based on a novella published in the New Yorker back in 2013, and featuring Seth Rogan as an immigrant laborer preserved in a pickle vat for 100 years, is set to debut in “summer 2020.”
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!