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10 Interesting Facts You Never Knew About HBO

The entertainment world is brimming with subscription platforms and channels to keep you entertained and engaged for a long time. One such amazing platform is HBO, one of the most prominent networks globally. 

Though you can get most of the information about the shows and the streaming platform on Streamingrant, there are still some interesting facts about HBO that you should know about. 

So, here are the top 10 interesting facts about HBO that make it unique.

The Green Channel was HBO’s original name.

Initially, HBO was named The Green Channel. It was started by Charles Dolan who was a television advocate, in 1972. He found the potential in the subscriber base station offering sports and movies in a market where people did not properly understand cable TV. 

He pitched the idea and got funding from Time Inc. This was the time when the channel was named HBO, Home Box Office. The aim was to clarify what they intended to offer. 

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It used to air for only 9 hours only per day.

This might sound shocking, but initially, HBO aired for 9 hours only for a day. For over a decade since its launch, it used to air only for 9 hours. 

It was in 1981 when they realized the need to have a 24-hour airing when they found their competitors like Showtime were doing the same and gaining viewers.

This was the first channel to use satellite transmission globally.

HBO is not only a pioneer in entertainment but also in the use of technology. It started broadcasting nationally using satellite transmission in 1975 when all knew little about the technology. 

Though there were some uncertainties, HBO proved that its decision was right at the time. Some people also believe that using satellites for transmission is not good as they can fall off orbit. Nevertheless, HBO proved everyone wrong.

Captain Midnight hacked HBO in 1986.

John MacDougall was a business owner and electrical engineer. In April 1986, he hacked the channel while airing the movie The Falcon and the Snowman. The channel was hacked for around 4 min and 30 sec. 

During that time, the message displayed on the screen read,”$12.95/month? No way!” It was a protest against the high fees of the channel. John was put on probation and charged a $5000 fine for hacking, and post that, signal hacking was added to the list of a felony.

The Sopranos created Emmy history for HBO.

Before 1999, no cable drama was ever nominated for the Emmy awards. But with the premiering of The Sopranos, this changed. 

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It was nominated for the Best Drama Series Emmy, and through the season, it got 16 nominations. During its entire running period, it got 112 nominations and even won 21 awards.

Pennsylvania Polka Festival was the first ever live event on HBO.

HBO is known for streaming sports, but its first ever live event was the Pennsylvania Polka Festival in 1973. This was a three-hour event which was quite different from regular content. Though it might not be linked, post this, the viewership fell from 14000 to 8000.

The first original HBO movie was aired on the second number.

HBO always wished to stand apart from others and was primarily involved in creating original movies. Right of Way, produced in 1983, was the first HBO original but was aired second. 

The plot was around the couple planning suicide together. Rather the team felt that the biopic of a runner who unfortunately lost his leg due to cancer was the right choice. So, it aired the Terry Fox Story first.

HBO and Game Of Thrones share quite a unique relationship.

Game Of Thrones is one of the shows that needs no introduction. Its plot, storyline, and characters are perfect, but that was not when the show was proposed. 

After reviewing the pilot from George R.R. Martin’s story in 2009, the executives felt the need for change and recasting. As of today, the show holds the grand record of winning the most Emmy Awards ever by a drama show. Since September 22, 2019, this record has not been broken. With 12 awards for Game Of Thrones, HBO’s total is 59 awards.

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HBO rejected the show, Mad Men.

HBO is known for offering the most classic and amazing entertainment content, but HBO also makes a few mistakes in accepting and rejecting shows. One such show is Mad Men. 

The show was rejected, and AMC accepted the same in 2006. Not only was the show a hit and super successful, but also, to some extent, it made the HBO team regret their decision.

Elephant, an HBO movie, stole hearts at the famous Cannes Film Festival.

HBO is indeed a pioneer when it comes to winning awards at Emmy. In 2003, HBO’s original movie, Elephant, was awarded during the Cannes Film Festival. It was a psychological drama describing the story of a school shooting. It won Palme d’Or, one of the most prestigious awards in the list of HBO awards.


Regarding subscribers and viewers, HBO is a pioneer in the field. As per the report from The Wrap, HBO added around 3 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. This offered them a total of 76.8 million subscribers globally. 

Offering high-quality content for over 30 years and a classic plot, there is no doubt that HBO is way ahead when compared to its competitors like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, or others. HBO also offered HBO Now, a streaming platform, to easily access the HBO originals in 2015. With a vision to offer better services and quality, HBO will grow multifold in the time to come.

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