Okay, so Max isn’t dead, exactly. But HBO has returned from its Max-imposed exile. After unceremoniously removing the iconic three letters from its streamer’s name and turning HBO Max into just Max, Warner Bros. Discovery is bringing the HBO brand back into play. We assume that the company has rightfully assessed that the brand identity associated with HBO will help sell its products. Of course, many could have shared that insight before HBO was cut from the operation. But we’re glad it’s back now.

jon snow coming back to life

A new report from Variety reveals that according to HBO and Max content CEO Casey Bloys, there will now be a delineation between “Max Shows” and “HBO Shows,” and unsurprisingly, most of Max’s upcoming IP projects will be termed “HBO shows.” The publication notes this includes the It prequel, Welcome to Derry, the Green Lantern DC series, Lanterns, and the upcoming Harry Potter project will all fall under the banner of “HBO Show.” This is an interesting shift considering the company’s considerable efforts to get everyone to accept the Max brand.

Bloys shares, “We felt like we had to delineate between an HBO show and a Max show. The idea of using Warner Bros. IP as a delineation for Max felt right. At least that gives you a clear lane. But as we started producing those shows, we were using the same methods, the same kind of thinking, as how we would approach HBO shows. In a lot of cases, the same talent that has worked on HBO shows.” And further comments, “What we ended up with is shows at this scope and scale that look great, and great narratives and talent we’ve worked with. The idea of the delineation kind of started to feel unnecessary. Like, why are we doing this? Let’s just call them what they are: HBO shows.”


“Why are you doing this?” is definitely a question many people asked during the initial shift from HBO to Max. But we guess, better late than never. The “HBO Shows” label will officially come into play during 2025. While we can clearly define an “HBO Show,” there’s no exact word yet of what a “Max Show” is if it’s not basically all the projects we were expecting from Max. It seems there is some sort of financial delineation at play, but little else is mentioned with clarity. Initially, The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy remained under the Max branding, as they were slated to release in 2024. Bloys even noted “We will start in 2025, although ‘The Penguin’ would be an obvious fit as an HBO Original. Unfortunately, the process of licensing it internationally has already started.”

But since then, circumstances have changed, and The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy will indeed come under the HBO Original umbrella and air on HBO as well as on Max.

Warner Bros. Discovery

Additionally of note, any series branded as “HBO shows” will now run on linear network TV in addition to streaming on Max. That will likely mean a larger volume of programming in 2025. It sounds like Thursdays and Sundays will be original series nights for the HBO channel.

Bloys sums it up by saying, “For a show that feels big and cinematic, they already are going to make the assumption that it feels like an HBO show… This is just leaning into that.” That’s true, but it begs the question, why did anyone lean out of it in the first place? It will also be interesting to see what this reversion back to HBO will mean for Max as a streamer. Might we even dare to suggest it could one day be called… HBO Max.

Originally published on June 25, 2024.