With Warner Bros. Discovery making some choices that have heavily affected filmmakers and actors recently, many employees at HBO started “freaking out” about their future at the company. After weeks of worrying about the future of HBO Max, Warner Bros. Discovery has made its move.
Variety reports that HBO Max will be downsizing its reality programming department in anticipation of the HBO Max and Discovery+ combined streaming service coming next summer. How major are these changes? The company will start by laying off 70 employees under HBO/HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys, which is 14% of the staff. Members are starting to be moved around, while the current head of original content, Sarah Aubrey at HBO Max, will now focus her oversight on the Max Originals drama slate.
These are not the only changes that are happening at HBO and HBO Max. Let’s break down what is happening.
As expected, the unscripted department at HBO is being drastically changed as Discovery brings over its powerhouse of unscripted content and the team behind its success.
This restructuring of HBO will also affect other departments of HBO Max like its international, comedy, acquisitions, and casting teams. The HBO and Max Original comedy teams will now become one, for instance.
With Discovery’s massive reality programming combining with HBO, the company believed that it didn’t make sense to have an overlay of similar positions to develop and produce reality when the genre was already well covered. While existing shows will continue to run as before, all new developments will be put on hold as Discovery shimmies into the building with its unscripted programs.
The new streaming service will be moving away from kids’ content as it recognizes that programming kid shows on HBO Max doesn’t justify the investment needed. The kids’ content will still be filled with content from Cartoon Network and other IP like Looney Tunes.
A large acquisitions group is no longer necessary for HBO. Most major acquisitions will go through Warner Bros. Discovery, cutting out HBO and HBO Max from major third-party deals.
This major downsizing was expected when Warner Bros. Discovery shelved Batgirl and a few other projects earlier in August. With the reshaping of HBO, HBO Max, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s content-release plan, layoffs were expected, and HBO employees have reportedly been looking at alternative jobs in anticipation.
The future of HBO Max is still uncertain as it prepares to merge with Discovery+. We will keep you updated on what you need to know as the combined streaming service’s launch date creeps closer. Until then, enjoy HBO Max while you can and support your favorite filmmakers.
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