Warner Bros. to Handle Kids Programming on HBO Max, Unveils ‘Gremlins’ Art

A new team will be leading the children and family programming for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service.

Variety reported that Tom Ascheim, the Warner Bros. president of global kids, young adult, and classics, will begin heading HBO Max’s younger-leaning content. Ascheim, whose resume includes Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, Turner Classic Movies, and Disney’s Freeform, will take over responsibilities from HBO and HBO Max content chief Casey Bloys. Ascheim joined Warner Bros. in June.

Per Variety, Ascheim is expected to lead a new preschool-centric content division that will center on some of the company’s most famous characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweeety Bird, Tom & Jerry, and other Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

“We have more tools than ever. So much of the work we do is to make a great program to put on our linear networks,” Ascheim told Variety. “The other part of the work we do is to get into the nooks and crannies of where kids live,”  “You’ve got to find the best and first way to meet your audience and get them to want to come back and watch your shows.”

Ascheim’s new responsibilities will presumably allow Bloys to focus on other aspects of HBO Max, which launched in May and has struggled to gain a significant foothold in the competitive streaming industry. Bloys’ workload has increased considerably over the last few months due to WarnerMedia’s ongoing restructuring; the company’s last wave of key executive departures resulted in Bloys juggling his time between HBO Max, TNT, TBS, and truTV.

HBO Max made a push for family-friendly programming in the months leading up to launch,

Though family-friendly programming has historically not been considered a critical component of streaming services, some platforms are beginning to cater to younger audiences after the early success of Disney’s Disney+ streaming service, which is billed as a family-friendly platform and does not boast the mature dramas that tend to define other streamers.

Variety released new concept art from Warner Bros. for the upcoming “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai” animated series to coincide with the Ascheim news. The concept art marks one of the first new details about the upcoming series, which is a prequel to the classic 1984 “Gremlins” film, since the series was unveiled in summer 2019. Most other details on the series, including a specific release date, are still under wraps, but the show is expected to take place in 1920s China and follow the younger exploits of Sam Wing, a 10-year-old boy who will one day grow up to own the shop where Randall picks up Gizmo.

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