Rumors of layoffs come from: Warner Bros. Discovery, HBO’s recently merged parent company, is reduce personnel costs.
Fourteen percent of the workforce under HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys will be laid off, affecting 70 employees. The New York Times reports that unscripted and live-action family shows for HBO Max, the streaming service, were the most affected. Other cuts affected HBO Max’s casting, acquisitions and international departments. Unscripted shows deemed successful are expected to continue.
This restructuring comes after AT&T’s WarnerMedia officially merged with Discovery, Inc. in April. Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T received $43 billion in cash and debt. But the company is still in debt at $53 billion and is trying to cut costs to save $3 billion by 2023.
In major tech mergers, layoffs are expected to end layoffs. But fans of HBO Max programming were outraged by the rumors of these layoffs, which started… seriously in circulation a few weeks ago, worried that original script programs like “Hacks”, “Our Flag Means Death” or “The Flight Attendant” would be canceled. So far, HBO Max’s original scripting programs have not been affected.
However, it makes sense for fans to be concerned. As these rumors circulated, David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, that the company would suspend the DC Comics adaptation “Batgirl” even though the film was already finished and cost at least $70 million. Zaslav added that the sequel to an animated Scooby Doo movie would not be released either. To make matters worse, viewers noticed that HBO Max had quietly removed six original movies from its service, starring such talents as Anne Hathaway, Seth Rogen, and Cole Sprouse.
It’s already been a tough year for the newly merged media mammoth. Warner Bros. Discovery also pulled the plug on its CNN+ streaming service just a month after launch, costing the company $300 million.