Posts tagged with "HBO Max"

They ‘were on a break,’ but Friends reunion episode will film in March

November 16, 2020

After months of delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the hotly anticipated reunion episode of Friends—the popular sitcom that aired from 1994 through 2004 and jump-started the careers of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—is due to start filming in March 2021.

Matthew Perry, better known as Chandler Bing on the series, made the announcement on Twitter on November 12, saying “Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March. Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way we like it!”

Ben Winston will direct the special and executive produce alongside Friends executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television and Fulwell 73 Productions are behind the program. Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer also are executive producing the special, with Emma Conway and James Longman on board as co-executive producers.

Research contact: @Variety

Not so nice? ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ workplace to be reviewed by WarnerMedia

July 29, 2020

Following rumors that the staff of the daytime talker, “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” has been intimidated, insulted, and otherwise mistreated; WarnerMedia has started an investigation into the workplace environment of the syndicated program, which has been a staple on the air since 2003.

Executives from Warner Bros. Television and the production company Telepictures sent a letter to employees of the talk show last week that outlined the company’s investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the letter, The New York Times reported.

WarnerMedia’s employee relations department, along with representatives from an outside company, will interview current and former staff members about their experiences on the program, the people said.

The decision to start the review followed the publication of articles that included allegations from current and former employees of discrimination and abusive behavior. Warner Bros. Television and a representative for DeGeneres declined to comment.

BuzzFeed News published an article this month that described what it called a “toxic work culture.” In the article, former staff members said they faced “racism, fear and intimidation” and laid most of the blame on three of the show’s executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner. DeGeneres also is a producer on the show.

Former employees said they were fired for taking time off for medical leave or bereavement. Black employees said they experienced racist comments. One said that one of the show’s writers had told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.”

In a joint statement to BuzzFeed News, Glavin, Connelly and Lassner said: “For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”

Variety first reported on the WarnerMedia investigation.

Last year, DeGeneres—known as “the Queen of Nice” by her audience— renewed her contract to continue hosting the program through 2022. She also signed a deal to create three shows for WarnerMedia’s streaming platform, HBO Max.

Research contact: @BuzzFeedNews

Aunt Jemima brand to change name and image over ‘racial stereotype’

June 18, 2020

In the spirit of Black Lives Matter, Quaker Oats—the manufacturer of the syrup and pancake brand, Aunt Jemima, has acknowledged that the brand’s origins were “based on a racial stereotype.” The company now intends to change the name and image on its packaging, The New York Times reports.

The brand, founded in 1889, is built on images of a black female character that often been have been seen as a symbol of slavery. Aunt Jemima has gone through several redesigns; pearl earrings and a lace collar were added in 1989.

On Wednesday, Quaker Oats, which is owned by PepsiCo, said that it was taking “a hard look at our portfolio of brands” as it works “to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives.”

The packaging changes, which were first reported by NBC, will begin to appear toward the end of this year, with the name change coming soon after.

“Whle work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough,” said Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker’s chief marketing officer, in a statement.

The Aunt Jemima brand was inspired by a minstrel song called “Old Aunt Jemima” and was once described by Riché Richardson, an associate professor of African-American literature at Cornell University, as “an outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the ‘mammy,’ a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.”

Last week, the glorified depiction of slavery in “Gone With the Wind,” which included a portrayal of an affable black character named Mammy, led HBO Max to temporarily remove the film from its catalog–before bringing it back with an explanatory forward, the Times notes.

Quaker Oats said in its statement that Aunt Jemima’s marketing had “evolved over time with the goal of representing loving moms from diverse backgrounds who want the best for their families,” but that it would gather more perspectives internally and from the black community to further shape the brand.

Research contact: @nytimes

HBO Max launches with curated Warner content, original series, acquired fan favorites, and films

May 28, 2020

During the pandemic, America’s “TV Generation” has stretched to encompass ages one through 100; Democrats, Independents, and Republicans; cat and dog lovers, married couples, families, and single dwellers—all of us streaming cable television nearly 24/7.

Now there’s new content from another major provider (as if we needed it).

WarnerMedia’s streaming platform, HBO Max, officially launched on May 27—featuring a streaming bundled curated from 100 years of what the company calls its own “iconic and beloved content;” as well new Max Originals; fan-favorite acquired franchises; and films.

Millions of existing HBO and HBO NOW direct-billed subscribers—as well as those who are billed through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum and Verizon Fios Internet—can access this greatly expanded offering at no extra cost. Customers can download the HBO Max app; and then elect to access it on supported devices or via desktop (and log in using their existing provider’s username and password to unlock all of HBO Max).

The HBO NOW app automatically will update to the HBO Max app on supported devices. The service is available to others for $14.99 a month. For a full list of providers, please click here. To explore all the ways to get HBO Max, visit:  www.hbomax.com/ways-to-get

“Today we are proud to introduce HBO Max—a dream that was created and nurtured by an incredible team of talented executives who dedicated the last year-and-a-half to making it a reality for consumers nationwide,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer, in a press release. “However, this is just the beginning of our journey. We will continue to innovate and evolve this one-of-a-kind platform that brings together beloved programming from across the WarnerMedia family and around the world, while also paving the way for the creative voices of tomorrow.”

At launch, HBO Max will use screen real estate to encourage discovery and organize content into relevant, timely and personalized components. Viewers will see a sophisticated homepage, genre and category pages, editorialized landing pages, premium trays of curated content; and HBO Max hubs, which provide an easy on-ramp to discovery for brand-loyal viewers. Through Multi-User Profiles and features such as Continue Watching, My List and My Downloads, viewers will enjoy a customized and personalized viewing experience.

Max Originals available at launch include Love Life, On the Record, Legendary, Craftopia, Looney Tunes Cartoons, and The Not-Too-Late Show with ElmoThroughout the summer, new Max Originals will debut.

The entire HBO service will be available on HBO Max, including classic fan favorites such as  The SopranosSex and the City, and The Wire; as well as recent hits, including Game of ThronesBig Little LiesVeep, Curb Your EnthusiasmBarry, Westworld, Succession, Last Week Tonight with John Oliverand more. 

HBO’s summer premieres also will be available on the platform at the same time that they debut on the HBO service, including I May Destroy You on June 7; Perry Mason, starring Emmy winner Matthew Rhys, on June 21; and the six-part documentary series I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on June 28.

Highlights of the extensive WarnerMedia portfolio of library programming available immediately include the entire Friends library; the first season of TNT’s The Alienist; the first four seasons of truTV’s  Impractical Jokers; as well as the libraries of The Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, The BoondocksThe Bachelor, The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirCW shows such as Batwoman, Nancy Drew, and Katy Keene The O.C.; Pretty Little Liars; the CNN catalog of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; and more. Soon, the platform offering will continue to grow—adding the libraries of Gossip Girl, The West Wing, and more within the first year of launch.

In addition, HBO Max will offer third-party acquisitions including Doctor Who (seasons 1-11 and the next three seasons); the U.S. premieres of Trigonometry and The Office; and seasons 17-25 of Top Gear—all as part of the previously announced deal with BBC Studios.

HBO Max will also premiere the 51st season of Sesame Street this year.

Finally, HBO Max will feature a library of more than 2,000 films within the first year. For more information on HBO Max, visit HBOMax.com

Research contact: @hbomax

‘Friends’ reunion: How you can be in the audience for the HBO MAX special

April 23, 2020

It has been 16 years since the last new episode of the NBC-TV hit show Friends aired—and it could be said that most of us have been “on a break.” However, now, we have something to look forward to again.

The Friends reunion special, due to air in May on HBO Max (if taping is not delayed by the COVID-19 lockdown) already is generating buzz.

During the special, the show’s cast members—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—will reminisce about what it was like to be on-set and filming, Newsweek reports.

What’s more, the cast has teamed up with the All In Challenge—a digital fundraising effort that incentivizes donations by offering “once-in-a-lifetime experiences—to offer one Friends superfan and five friends the chance to be at the reunion when it tapes for HBO Max.

As Kudrow wrote on Instagram: “Hi everyone. Your Friends from FRIENDS want you to know something… We are all in!! You may have heard about the reunion special we are doing for HBO Max, well… WE ALL want YOU and five of YOUR friends to join the 6 of us on Stage 24.

She adds, “Be our personal guests in the audience for the taping where you’ll see us all together again for the first time in AGES, as we reminisce about the show and celebrate the fun we had. PLUS sip a cup of coffee with us in Central Perk and get the Friends VIP experience on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.”

To enter the “The One Where You Meet The Entire Cast Of Friends” sweepstakes, all fans have to do is click through to the competition page on the AllInChallenge.com website and donate $10 or more to the campaign, Newsweek reports. The more that fans donate to the charity, the more entries into the prize draw they get.

The Friends competition is not the only one available on the All In Challenge website. Among the other prizes are the opportunity to run a lemonade stand with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, and the chance to appear in a walk-on role in the latest Martin Scorsese movie Killers of the Flower Moon, which stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Proceeds from all of the auctions and prize drawings on the site raise money for American food charities like No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels, and America’s Food Fund.

Research contact: @Newsweek