There will be plenty of diverse animation offerings on HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service from AT&T’s Warnermedia unit. New details about its animation programming were announced Tuesday afternoon at an investor event on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.
Launching in May of 2020, HBO Max will cost $15 per month for U.S. customers. The company is targeting 50 million domestic subscribers and 75-90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe.
In order to achieve those numbers, AT&T will offer HBO Max at no charge to its roughly 10 million HBO subscribers. HBO Now direct-billed users who subscribe directly through HBONow.com will also have access to HBO Max. AT&T customers on premium video, mobile, and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge.
One of the newly-announced key animation pick-ups for HBO Max is exclusive streaming rights to Comedy Central’s South Park. As you may recall, we reported last week that the series was at the center of a bidding war between multiple streamers. HBO Max may have paid up to $500 million for the rights, though the actual deal figures haven’t been made public.
The multi-year South Park licensing deal was signed with South Park Digital Studios, a joint venture between Viacom and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. All 23 seasons of the animated satire will become available exclusively on HBO Max in June 2020 followed by three brand new seasons, which will debut on HBO Max 24 hours after each episode premieres on Comedy Central. Disney-owned Hulu, which currently streams the series, will lose its streaming rights next spring.
HBO Max says that South Park will anchor its “young adult animation offering,” that will also include a large selection of Adult Swim series including The Boondocks, Rick & Morty, and Robot Chicken; Crunchyroll’s anime programming; and exclusive U.S. streaming rights to most of Studio Ghibli’s feature film library.
Other animation announcements made during today’s presentation:
- The new 1,000-minutes of Looney Tunes shorts will be presented as 80 eleven-minute episodes, with each episode comprised of animated shorts of varying lengths. Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa) is the showrunner.
- Jellystone is a new children’s comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation that takes place in the town of Jellystone, a place where Hanna-Barbera characters live, work, play, and make trouble for each other. The animated series will include classic H-B characters like Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, Augie Doggie, Doggie Daddy, Ruff, Yakky Doodle, Shag Rugg, Jabberjaw, El Kabong, Top Cat, Captain Caveman, Cindy Bear, Mildew Wolf, Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, Peter Potamus, Snagglepuss, Magilla Gorilla, and others more. The series is executive produced by C.H. Greenblatt (Chowder, Harvery Beaks) and Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation.
- The Fungies! is a prehistoric comedy from Stephen Neary (supervising producer, Clarence) and produced by Cartoon Network Studios. It explores Fungietown through the eyes of Seth, a young student at Fungietown Elementary. Per the synopsis, “Seth loves science and sharing his exciting discoveries with all his Fungie friends. But in his search for the ultimate scientific adventure, Seth often stirs up trouble for Fungietown’s colorful inhabitants leading to hilarious and heartwarming surprises.”
- Tig N’ Seek is another series from Cartoon Network Studios that’s created by Myke Chilian (storyboard artist/writer, Uncle Grandpa). Described as a “lighthearted mystery-filled show,” the series follows eight-year-old Tiggy and his gadget-building cat, Gweeseek, as they search for the lost items of Wee Gee City. The series was announced earlier this year and is based on a pilot called Tiggle Winks.
- Tooned Out is a half-hour, hybrid live-action and animated comedy from director Robert Zemeckis and Jared Stern, who wrote on The LEGO Batman Movie and created Netflix’s upcoming Green Eggs and Ham series. According to the show description, “Things get a little cartoony for Mac when he starts seeing iconic cartoon characters, but they’re not just there for laughs, they’re helping him get through a very rough patch in his life.” The series is produced by Zemeckis’s company Compari Entertainment and A Stern Talking To Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Television.
- In addition to new productions, the service will offer 250 classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts (this, by the way, is ridiculous – just make available the damn 1,000-short library once and for all!), every episode of The Flintstones and The Jetsons, as well as classic shows and shorts featuring Josie and the Pussycats, Popeye, Scooby and Scrappy Doo and Yogi Bear. Most of these archival offerings are redundant with Warnermedia’s existing Boomerang app, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see that app folded into HBO Max.