Following David Zaslav’s take-over as CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery last August, he announced that Warner would start cutting down contents from HBO Max’s streaming library. Warner Bros.
Discovery has equally announced a plan to license some of its canceled and pulled programming to third party free ad-supported television (FAST) channels. Additionally, the company says it will announce plans for its own proprietary FAST channel in 2023.
In spite of being in post-production, “Batgirl” was one of the first projects to be cut off, alongside many other animated series. “Minx”, which was even preparing to wrap up filming when the announcement came, is equally being removed. Now even fan-favorites like “Westworld” and “The Nevers” are being completely taken off the platform.
Other films that were canceled off HBO Max’s streaming library include “Love and Life”, “Finding Magic Mike”, “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, “FBoy Island”, “Head of the Class”, “Raised by Wolves” and many others.
What is frustrating about Zaslav’s action is the resolve to scrap projects that have already finished shooting and completed filming.
It’s not only disappointing to filmmakers but to fans also who may have been waiting quite a while to see new seasons of their favorite HBO Series, especially the ones that have been greenlit – only to see them being canceled after months of hard work by the casts and crews.
Nevertheless, canceling these shows, regardless of their popularity, seemed to be a cost-cutting strategy for Warner Bros. Discovery, which had, over the next three years , pledged to find $3.5 billion in savings.
Seeing that the cancellation of “Batgirl” had earned Warner a tax write-off of up to 4.3 billion dollars, Warner says it will help them eliminate paying extra nets and residuals to cast and crew who have worked on the shows.
However, beyond these cost saving measures, wouldn’t it be doing more harm than good to the brand in the long run ? Studios would hesitate selling their works to HBO knowing it could be randomly slashed.
Viewers and followers would not want to keep subscribing to a platform when they know that their favorite and most watched series could be taken off or disappear at any time.