Warner Bros. Discovery to Add CNN Channel to Max Streaming Service

CNN is moving a step closer to its digital future.

The cable news network will start a 24-hour streaming channel on Max beginning on Sept. 27, Warner Bros. Discovery, which is CNN’s parent company and also owns Max, said on Thursday.

The CNN Max channel will feature distinct live programming, including a streaming-only news program hosted by the veteran anchor Jim Sciutto, but in a more unusual move, it will livestream several programs from the cable network, the company said.

The overlap will include at least four hours of cable shows like “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer” and “Anderson Cooper 360.” The cable shows will stream at the same time they appear on cable, JB Perrette, the president of global streaming at Warner Bros. Discovery, said in an interview.

CNN, as well as competitors like Fox News, has generally shied away from delivering live programming from its mother ship cable network at the same time on streaming channels, usually out of fear that it would run afoul of lucrative agreements with major cable operators.

Still, some companies have started to make moves. NBCUniversal began streaming a MSNBC mainstay, “Morning Joe,” and the CNBC morning show, “Squawk Box,” started live airing on its Peacock streaming service this year.

The endeavor is hardly CNN’s first foray into streaming. CNN+, the expensive and short-lived streaming-only channel, was shut down within weeks after Warner Bros. and Discovery merged into a new company in April 2022. The channel featured programming distinct from the cable news network (including shows like “Jake Tapper’s Book Club”), and the new Warner Bros. Discovery team held a dim view of that approach.

When shutting down the service, Mr. Perrette invoked social media posts that had called the service “CNN Minus” because it did not include any of the cable news network’s actual programming, saying in a meeting with staff that it was “the global calling card of this news organization.”

Several media companies, including the Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN, are beginning to weigh when and how they can begin delivering their live cable programming via streaming.

“We haven’t said when, but we do know that it will happen,” Disney’s chief executive, Robert A. Iger, told CNBC last month.

In addition to Mr. Sciutto’s show, CNN Max will also have other distinct live programming, including a streaming-only show anchored by Jim Acosta, Rahel Solomon, Amara Walker and Fredricka Whitfield.

John Koblin covers the television industry. He is the co-author of “It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO.” More about John Koblin

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