With one in four Americans now listening to podcasts each week (source), HBO Max has invested its creative efforts to produce a slate of award-winning podcasts to extend and enhance the storytelling experience of its premium content. Since 2019, the HBO Max Podcast Program has grown from four podcasts to over 25 unique series, including popular and award-winning companion podcasts for hit series such as Chernobyl, Lovecraft Country, and more.
Now, plans are underway to expand beyond companion podcasts to include scripted audio originals like the highly anticipated “Batman: The Audio Adventures,” starring Jeffrey Wright; brand podcasts like “HBO Max Movie Club,” look-back pods that pull from the streamer’s vast library of content, both acquired and licensed titles, and more.
“Our viewers tell us that, more than any other streaming platform, they want to discuss and dissect HBO Max programming with friends and family to extend the emotional experience after finishing an episode,” said Joshua Walker, Chief Strategy Officer at HBO Max. “Our fans are at the center of everything we do, so we’re following their lead by increasing our investment in podcasting, building on our successful and award-winning podcast program to deliver even more engaging, thoughtful content.”
As part of this expansion, Michael Gluckstadt and Becky Rho, Co-Directors of the HBO Max Podcast Program, announced today on a panel hosted by Pineapple Street Studios at the Podcast Movement festival in Nashville that:
- “Batman: The Audio Adventures” will be released exclusively on HBO Max in the fall. In partnership with Warner Bros. and DC, this scripted audio original, Gotham City comes to lurid life in the theater of your mind…with a sensational pageant of technicolor villainy unlike any other on Earth. Mafioso Penguins. Thieving Catwomen. Terrorist Riddlers. Killing Jokers…a city where some problems can only be solved by a billionaire in a bat costume. Starring Jeffrey Wright as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Catwoman, John Leguizamo as the Riddler, and a who’s who of incredible “Saturday Night Live” alums, the series draws inspiration from the vintage noir atmosphere of the celebrated “Batman: The Animated Series,” the spirited fun of the classic 1960s “Batman” TV series, and the entire 80-plus year history of the BATMAN franchise. This rollicking, over the top Batman adventure is written and directed by Emmy®-winner Dennis McNicholas, features an A-List cast, and devilishly delightful original music.
- On September 9th, HBO Max will launch its first look-back podcast in honor of the 20th anniversary of “Band of Brothers.” Hosted by Roger Bennett, the pod will kick off with a fascinating interview with executive producer Tom Hanks and will feature interviews with additional former castmates over the course of several weeks.
- Debuting this fall is “We Stay Looking,” a sequel to Issa Rae's "Insecure" companion podcast, “Looking for Latoya,” and the platform’s first-ever scripted HBO podcast series. Made in partnership with Raedio and Tenderfoot TV, “Looking for Latoya,” is a Webby Award-winning satirical series based on the show-within-the-show of the same name that sheds light on the way missing Black women are often underreported in the media. The scripted sequel, “We Stay Looking,” will mirror the format, but delve into a range of topics including prison labor in America, racism in school systems, the alarming mortality rate of Black women during hospital stays and childbirth, and more.
- HBO Max is expanding its partnership with Audacy to include HBO Max and HBO Documentary titles. The streaming platform has worked with Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios since the inception of its podcast program, producing successful companion podcasts such as the Webby Award-winning podcasts “Lovecraft Country Radio,” and “The Chernobyl Podcast,” which has been listened to over 13 million times. The increased investment will include brand podcasts like the recently launched, “Trade Secrets,” that presents intimate conversations between actors, writers, directors, and more as they talk about their craft and life adventures, and an upcoming pod that explores HBO’s award-winning documentaries. Audacy will also enhance WarnerMedia’s consumer insights and marketing efforts, and WarnerMedia will utilize Audacy’s expertise, national reach and trusted local voices to promote brands and programming.
- Launched in 2020, the streamer will continue its partnership with iHeartMedia, which has seen the co-production of successful podcasts for Max Original series including “Raised by Wolves,” “Genera+ion,” “Search Party,” and “Murder at White House Farms,” to add new titles and introduce brand new formats like an HBO Max brand-level pod titled, “HBO Max Movie Club.” Hosted by comedian Matt Rogers (“Las Culturistas”), the series features fun discussion of the Warner Bros.’ films premiering in theaters and HBO Max on the same day in 2021, as well as other films in the HBO Max library, highlighting the depth and breadth of content on the platform with guest appearances from the creatives who produced, directed, wrote, or starred in the incredible films.
- HBO Max has partnered with Kast Media to bring HBO Max users the ultimate The OC-rewatch podcast, “Welcome to The OC, Bitches” for in-app streaming. In each podcast episode, hosts Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke will take fans back to a particular episode of the classic series, share behind-the-scenes scoops, and interview guests who were part of The OC experience. The podcast is an original Kast Media production and The OC is currently available to stream on HBO Max.
“Being passionate about what we do has been key to our success. We keep our goal of authentic connection top priority by working with creators and writers who are equally as passionate as we continue to add to our roster of podcasts for fans of our programming,” Rho shared at the festival.
Gluckstadt added: “Our program is growing so rapidly because of the connection we offer fans to their favorite shows. Podcasts are extraordinary tools to extend the worlds of HBO Max shows and stories and we can’t wait to see everyone's reaction to the fresh content coming this year and next.”
All of these podcasts will be available to stream on HBO Max, with “Batman: The Audio Adventures” available exclusively on the platform. Other podcasts, like “HBO Max Movie Club” and “Trade Secrets,” are also available wherever fans listen to podcasts, offering fans opportunities for deeper engagement both on and off the platform.
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