HBO Max Inks Deal with Children’s Author Mo Willems


HBO Max has signed an exclusive multiyear deal with children’s author Mo Willems and Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures.

As part of this two-year deal, HBO Max has acquired streaming rights to Willems’ first live-action special, Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. HBO Max has committed to additional live-action Storytime specials as well as multiple animated specials, starting with one based on Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. Stampede Ventures is producing all titles under the pact.

Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max and president at TNT, TBS and truTV, said: “Mo is a special talent with a profound ability to connect with children and families alike. We are so happy Mo and Stampede Ventures chose to partner with us at HBO Max.”

Jennifer O’Connell, executive VP of original nonfiction and kids programming at HBO Max, added: “We are so lucky to be able to work with the multi-talented Mo Willems, whose work is authentic, inspiring and truly impactful.”

Willems commented: “HBO Max is the perfect home for me to work on fun and experimental ways to bring my book characters and theater work to the screen because we share the goal of creating exciting shows and series that bring families together. My focus is making stuff that amuses, entertains and sparks creative play after the screen is powered down. Having the creative teams of HBO Max and Stampede Ventures with me means that we’ll get to create meaningful work and have fun doing it. We’re so excited we even created a new logo for the occasion. Banana!”

Silverman commented: “Stampede Ventures is honored to be Mo’s partner as he brings his vibrant world to life in media for the first time and we couldn’t ask for a better home than HBO Max. Mo’s characters are already beloved by millions of families—his books are often the first that many children ever read on their own—and we’re excited to help him bring these characters to life on screen.”