The HBO network earned a reputation for adult dramas filled with sex and violence, including The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. But when its new streaming offshoot launched last week, the buzziest shows were aimed at children.
Looney Tunes Cartoons, a new take on classic characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, was the most in-demand show when the new HBO Max service debuted on May 27, according to Parrot Analytics, a firm that gauges how popular TV shows are based on social media, fan ratings and piracy. The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo, a talk show hosted by the Sesame Street character Elmo, was second.
The outcome is a victory for AT&T’s efforts to turn the HBO name into a family-friendly brand. To take on Netflix in streaming, the service needs to appeal to a wide audience, including Elmo-loving toddlers.
On the other hand, the new service doesn’t have many of the water-cooler hits that the cable network was famous for. Love Life, its most popular new show for adults, has pushed past Elmo to become the second-hottest new series on HBO Max in recent days, but still hasn’t built anything close to the buzz that Disney+’s The Mandalorian generated when it debuted in November.