I'm not a heavy television-watcher or consumer of cable content and though I hear of it often have little experience with streaming media. When it comes to CNN content I usually wait for the 2 to 20 minute clips they post in their YouTube channel.

Recently checking in on Chris Wallace's situation after the future of his planned program Who's Talking to Chris Wallace was put in limbo after the cancellation of CNN+ (cf. Washington Post's April 25, 2022 Chris Wallace says he’s ‘going to be fine’ after CNN Plus shuttering) a quick search found several media news websites reporting that CNN without the "+" is moving forward with this shown. See for example Deadline's May 18, 2022 Chris Wallace Talk Show Headed To HBO Max And CNN Sunday Night Slot; New CNN Boss Chris Licht Vows To “Challenge” Cable News Norms, Disrupt Mornings – Upfronts

That a show will be on both CNN and HBO is already puzzling to me, but the second paragraph introduces a new term:

Speaking at the Warner Bros Discovery upfront, new CNN boss Chris Licht delivered his most expansive public comments since taking over from Jeff Zucker, promising a morning show “disruptor” and a challenge to cable news norms.

Licht also said Chris Wallace’s talk show, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, has gone back into production and will now stream on HBO Max and air Sunday nights on linear CNN. Wallace decamped from Fox News last year and resurfaced with the series on CNN+ but the abrupt unplugging of that new streaming outlet last month left the show briefly in limbo. Wallace was one of several high-priced hires who joined CNN as it ramped up CNN+. Before his 18 years at Fox, Wallace worked at ABC News and NBC News.


  1. Is it unusual for a TV show to be available both on a cable news channel like CNN and an unrelated streaming service like HBO?
  2. What exactly (if anything) does "linear CNN" mean?

Yes that's more than one question, but in this particular case they are so tightly coupled and refer to such similar information that I think it's likely that a single answer can address both.

  • If I've missed applicable tags please feel free to add them.
    – uhoh
    Jun 25, 2022 at 22:11
  • 6
    Linear just means normal TV. Not streaming.
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 26, 2022 at 4:20
  • 1
    @Paulie_D for those of us who don't really watch much of anything any more, what exactly is and isn't "normal TV"? As a child when I did watch a lot, I remember that a show might be on at "8 PM, 7 Central here on CBS". That's what "normal TV" means to me. Rabbit ears on top of the TV, chroma and tint adjustment below the 2 through 13 channel selector, separate set-top box for the UHF converter, the RCA truck in the driveway meant I wasn't going to be able to watch Adam West's Batman before starting my homework, etc...
    – uhoh
    Jun 26, 2022 at 4:35
  • @Paulie_D seriously, what is "normal TV" exactly?
    – uhoh
    Jun 28, 2022 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


In the context, I would say "linear CNN" means the more traditional broadcast (or cablecast) method where content is scheduled, as opposed to streaming which is simply made available and can be paused/resumed/restarted/rewound.

As for the (un)usualness of CNN content being streamed on HBOmax - they are now both owned by Discovery (hat-tip to Hannover Fist for the information) who seem to be consolidating their streaming services under the HBO banner:



It makes sense - running a streaming service require a fair bit of server and network infrastructure. Why set up and pay for your own when you can provide content on someone else's service, especially when you've struggled to get sufficient numbers signing up for your own niche service.

  • 6
    Yes,YouTube is a streaming platform. Pretty much any on-demand video on the internet is streaming.
    – HorusKol
    Jun 25, 2022 at 23:30
  • 1
    It turns out that in my head I had it exactly backwards. When I stick my hand into a stream or river to get some water, I don't have any control over which water I get other than through choosing the moment I sample it. I guess that would be analogous to a "live broadcast" rather than "streaming". Then "streaming" must refer to watching a "live download" where the data comes into your device at very roughly the same rate that you consume it. As for the CNN/HBO arrangement, if this (streaming subcontracting) is new it certainly seems like a good idea!
    – uhoh
    Jun 25, 2022 at 23:34
  • 3
    Heh, put like that, I can understand the confusion.Originally, it was more like you say - early services would simply start a video that you could watch over the internet,"streaming" as if from a tape, and you couldn't control it. But it quickly become a catch-all for on-demand videos now offered by the likes of YouTube and Netflix, etc.
    – HorusKol
    Jun 26, 2022 at 1:08
  • 6
    @uhoh streaming in this context means that the file is not stored. It's received, displayed, and gone afterwards. "Streaming" can also refer to the delivery mode itself where the file size is not known, client doesn't have to load all file to start reading it and these days it even doesn't have to be loaded from the start. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streaming_media
    – Džuris
    Jun 26, 2022 at 9:37
  • 2
    Might be worthwhile to mention that Discovery recently bought HBO, CNN, and other networks and have been merging the streaming services. Jun 27, 2022 at 1:30

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