Just as Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia is entering the final stretch, HBO/HBO Max is living up to its status as one of the most prized assets in the proposed deal.
Following the (mostly virtual) watercooler conversation-dominating Season 3 of Succession at the end of 2021, HBO and HBO Max both started 2022 with a bang. The second season of HBO’s Euphoria, starring Zendaya, has defied ratings gravity, hitting new series highs every week, including one against the Super Bowl this past Sunday (5.1 million multi-platform viewers on premiere night.)
The Season 2 premiere literally broke HBO Max, with the overwhelming demand causing the app to go down for a bit. The season 2 opener is now approaching 17M viewers across platforms, just over 2.5x the average audience of Season 1 (6.6 million viewers per episode). Euphoria, created by Sam Levinson, regularly ranks as the No. 1 title on HBO Max in the U.S., and the top series globally.
James Gunn’s Suicide Squad spinoff series for HBO Max, Peacemaker, also has set series highs each Thursday as new episodes are released.
Additionally, Julian Fellows’ period drama The Gilded Age logged HBO’s strongest ratings performance on Monday in almost three years, since Chernobyl.
All three series have already received early renewals for another season, along with two other HBO shows that earned quick pickups in 2022, The Righteous Gemstones and Somebody Somewhere. There is also another Suicide Squad offshoot series in the works for HBO Max.
“We are thrilled of course with the performance of Euphoria, which hit a series high even against the Super Bowl. We’re very proud of Sam, Zendaya and the whole team,” HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys told Deadline. “Also wonderful to see Peacemaker break out, looking forward to doing more with James and team. Looking ahead, i feel like 2022 is a great example of both HBO and Max originals firing on all cylinders.”
HBO and HBO Max’s strong performance comes as another marquee WarnerMedia brand, CNN, is in turmoil just weeks from Discovery taking over the media company. While still operating under AT&T ownership — which has been mercilessly mocked by HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight from the start — Bloys is optimistic about the possibilities an acquisition by Discovery acquisition could bring.
“There are obviously a lot of rules about what we can say and how we interact with Discovery at the moment, so I don’t have much insight into what a combined company might look like. But generally speaking I will say I think the potential is very exciting and we are looking forward to it.”
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