When it became clear last year that the AT&T and Time Warner merger (aka. the TWATT deal) was set, it also was made clear that the gem in Warners’ crown – HBO – was going to have to adapt. WarnerMedia chief John Stankey seemingly wanted to ditch the network’s quality over quantity approach in favor of producing and pushing out more content – a LOT more.
Nearly a year on, HBO programming president Casey Bloys spoke with Variety at the Television Critics Association press tour about the network’s increased investment in original programming and how the AT&T merger is impacting the network.
Bloys says the change has already started with 2019 offering the most programming HBO has done, up about 50% on hours of original content from last year. Bloys also says there’s been no change to the quality of what they have been greenlighting:
“What’s good about it is (that) all of this programming is programming that we would’ve done two years ago, five years ago, there’s no difference in type or quality of programming we’re doing – just to do more. That’s what you can do with a couple of years of advance planning – (find) shows that you’re proud of and are indicative of the HBO brand.”
One big change is to avoid fallow periods on the schedule and keep viewers engaged with year-round programming. He also says WarnerMedia’s planned streaming platform isn’t impacting their product:
“We at HBO are continuing to do what we do with our expanded programming and we will be a part of their service. They’re doing their thing, we’re just continuing to make the HBO brand the best it can be, and hopefully, that is an attractive part of a digital offering… we’ve been busier than we’ve ever been and we’re just continuing to do our work. I assume they will use our brand in a smart way and build around it.”
HBO is currently airing the third season of “True Detective” and has the final seasons of “Game of Thrones,” “The Deuce” and “Veep”; new seasons of “Barry,” “Big Little Lies,” “My Brilliant Friend,” “Insecure,” “Ballers,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Succession”; and new series like “Lovecraft Country,” “His Dark Materials,” “Euphoria,” “The Outsider” and “Watchmen” on the way.