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Issa Rae, Elizabeth Banks, Mindy Kaling Set Comedy Projects at HBO Max

Issa Rae, Elizabeth Banks, and Mindy Kaling are all teaming up with HBO Max for three new half-hour comedies.

According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, both Rae and Banks’ projects are in development, while Kaling’s has been ordered to series for 13 episodes. Rae and Banks’ projects are expected to go to series as well. Both Banks and Kaling are currently under overall deals at Warner Bros. Television.

The announcements were made as part of WarnerMedia’s presentation on key details of HBO Max on Tuesday, including pricing.

Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae and Mindy Kaling are three of the most gifted women in our industry, and are now bringing their impressive, original projects to HBO Max,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max.

Rae — the co-creator and star of the HBO comedy “Insecure” — is working on “Rap S–t,” which follows a female rap group from outside of Miami trying to make it in the music industry. Rae will write the pilot in addition to executive producing. Montrel McKay of Issa Rae Productions will also executive produce along with Jonathan Berry and Dave Becky of 3 Arts Entertainment.

Banks is set to executive produce “DC Super Hero High,” which follows a group of students experiencing the fun and drama of adolescence at a boarding school for gifted kids. They are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realize that someday they will become legendary DC super heroes.

Scott Weinger is writing the pilot and executive producing. Banks will executive produce via Brownstone Productions along with Brownstone’s Max Handelman as well as John D. Beck, and Ron Hart. Brownstone’s Dannah Shinder will co-executive produce. Brownstone will produce in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television.

News of the “DC Super Hero High” development is made all the more interesting by the fact that it is set up at HBO Max rather than the standalone streamer DC Universe. Ever since WarnerMedia announced the launch of HBO Max, there have been questions about whether or not DCU would continue on in its current form while still running original programming. It was announced in July that DCU original “Doom Patrol” had been renewed for a second season, but that season would be available to stream on both DCU and HBO Max, with Season 1 also becoming available on HBO Max upon the Season 2 premiere.

Kaling’s project is titled “College Girls” and follows three 18-year old freshmen at Evermore College in Vermont. Kaling will serve as writer, executive producer, and showrunner via Kaling International. Howard Klein of 3 Arts will also executive produce. Warner Bros. Television will serve as the studio.

“These three incredible talents embody the distinct and diverse voices that will give flight to the quality HBO Max brand promise across all audiences” added Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president of TBS, TNT, and truTV.

In addition, it was announced that the drama series “Raised by Wolves,” which was set up at TNT, would be moved over to HBO Max. 

The Ridley Scott-produced series centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.  

TNT gave the show a 10-episode straight-to-series order last October. It will run for the same number of episodes at HBO Max. 

The cast includes: Travis Fimmel, Amanda Collin, Abubakar Salim, Winta McGrath, Niamh Algar, Matias Varela, Felix Jamieson, Ethan Hazzard, Jordan Loughran, Aasiya Shah, and Ivy Wong. 

Aaron Guzikowski serves as writer and executive producer. Scott directed in addition to executive producing via Scott Free Productions. David W. Zucker, Jordan Sheehan, Adam Kolbrenner, and Mark Huffam also serve as executive producers

This marks the latest example of a project set up at a WarnerMedia linear channel being moved over to HBO Max. Most recently, it was announced that the TBS comedy “Search Party” would move to HBO Max for its third season, with the show also receiving a Season 4 pick up.

Then, in a continued attempt to bolster its kids and family programming lineup, HBO Max has also ordered a collection shows from Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios.

The shows in question from Warner Bros. Animation are all-new “Looney Tunes Cartoons” and a new “Jellystone” series featuring the beloved Hanna-Barbera characters.

From Cartoon Network Studios, the streamer has greenlit two new animated series in “The Fungies!” and “Tig N’ Seek.” “Tooned Out,” a hybrid live-action and animated comedy from Robert Zemeckis is also in development.

A collection of classics from the libraries of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Hanna-Barbera will also be available to stream on HBO Max.

In other development news at HBO Max, Conan O’Brien and his Team Coco shingle will be bringing five new stand-up specials to the platform upon launch.

The specials will feature talent handpicked by O’Brien and come as part of the comedian’s joint venture with WarnerMedia announced in 2018. O’Brien will host two of the specials, which will feature short sets from multiple comics, and curate the other three which will feature hour-long sets from three different comedians.

Additionally, HBO Max has purchased the rights to a one-hour special from comedian James Veitch, which Team Coco will produce.

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