2022 has been difficult, not just for the subscribers to the streaming service but especially for the people behind WBD. A report by Variety says that the worst is over as the new year of 2023 will focus on relaunching.
Since the takeover of WarnerMedia by Discovery, it felt like the new CEO David Zaslav has been on a cancellation spree.
The company cancelled many shows, even shows that were even presumed popular by fans. Westworld was one of the shows many fans looked forward to. It was obvious that it had a big production. So, its cancellation was a surprise to many. Same so with Raised by Wolves, the science fiction drama had critical acclaim, especially with the second and final season.
Minx and Time Traveler’s Wife were fairly new. While many would be fine with cancelling Time Traveler’s Wife, many were confused with Minx. Minx is one of the best shows HBO Max has released recently, it’s already considered as “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, Minx has been nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actress in a Comedy for the Satellite Awards for 2023. Nevertheless, it only lasted one season with ten episodes.
People were mostly shocked with Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt. Both were already done or close to finishing the projects. But even so, they were also cancelled for reasons we can only speculate. Now, the films are used for tax write-offs. Because of it, they may never see the light of day.
Warner Bros Discovery HBO Max Purge In Finished
It seems that the worst is over. WBD CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels says at the Citi’s 2023 Communications, Media & Entertainment Conference:
We took a little bit of time to make sure that we do it properly. For some of the titles, we’ve found new homes elsewhere. That’s why this took six or seven months. But I think we’ve come to great solutions and, most importantly, we’re done with that chapter. That was very important to all of us, to really use 2022 to leave the purchase accounting behind us, leave those initial strategy changes behind us, get it all out there in terms of our restructuring estimates and then be able to turn the page forward. I think the team has laid a great foundation and I’m really excited about the growth from here.
While some projects were just cancelled, others were actually shopped to other networks. Batman: Caped Crusader, an animated DC project under Matt Reeves, Bruce Tim, and J.J. Abrams, is one of those examples.
Also, it’s strange to see Westworld being removed from HBO Max’s own catalogue. Considering that the show was supposed to be the successor to the Game of Thrones. Westworld could potentially move to another network. Reports have shown that the show could appear in a Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (aka FAST).
There are reports that Warner Bros Discovery will start its own FAST in 2023.
Warner Bros Discovery HBO Max Purge Is Finished
From my perspective, we really have command and control over the business now. There were some surprises in the first months of the combination, as you know, but we put out the guidance for this year at the end of the summer and I’ve been very, very pleased with all of our operating trends over the second half of the year… We’re really on track for a lot of asset value creation and free cash flow generation.
Warner Bros Discovery’s content impairment and development write-off charges may reach $3.5 billion. This is $1 billion more than it was originally estimated. This transformation had positive results, and Wiedenfels believes they are now in a better position than any other network.
The restructuring of the Warner Bros Discovery hasn’t ended yet. It is expected to continue on until the end of 2024. But at least, the difficult part has passed. The road to a better place has been bumpy, but it was necessary.
We’re going to come out with a great product from a consumer-experience perspective, and that’s, frankly, the biggest holdback for HBO Max right now. The experience is not where it needs to be.
The purge of more projects is over. That’s a relief to hear. But it does make us wonder about what we will see from 2023 onwards.
What do you think of Warner Bros Discovery’s purge of its original shows? Do you think that the new year would yield a better future for the company? Would we see better shows because of it?
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcast, The Small Screen Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts!