HBO is laying off 70 employees as it downsizes its reality programming division in its latest cost-cutting move since the Warner Bros Discovery merger
- The layoffs of 70 HBO employees account for an estimated 14 percent of Chief Content Officer Casey Bloy’s team
- The layoffs are one step in a series of cost-cutting measures following the merger of streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+
- Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav plans to save $3 billion after the merger while increasing subscribers by 40 percent
- Original reality programs are among the hardest hit by the layoffs, with future layoffs expected at WBD
- The company’s “strategic shift” has already led to the cancellation of “Batgirl,” a $90 million production
HBO laid off 70 of its employees, with its reality programming division among the hardest-hit, in another cost-cutting move following the recent merger between HBO Max and Discovery+.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, original reality programming will be hardest hit by the layoffs, along with casting, international, acquisitions, business affairs and production.
The downsizing represents an estimated 14 percent of Casey Bloy’s team, chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max.
The layoffs represent a plan to rid the company of layoffs, while Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav plans to save $3 billion after the merger.
To complement the layoffs, personnel moves include Sarah Aubrey, who continues to oversee HBO Max original dramas and add international programming; HBO Head of Comedy Amy Gravitt will now oversee HBO Max comedy, with former head Suzanna Makkos reporting to Gravitt, and; International co-productions are overseen by both the drama and comedy departments.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said his company is making a “strategic shift” from releasing movies direct to streaming services to waiting after theatrical release
Casey Bloys (pictured), chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max, lost an estimated 14 percent of his entire workforce as a result of the layoffs
Merger of Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming platforms HBO Max and Discovery+ are an attempt to reach 130 million subscribers by 2025, according to a Washington Post report.
HBO productions canceled after Discovery+ merger
A merger of the two streaming services and various internal discussions have led to several Warner Bros. productions being canceled.
Here’s a list of all recent cancellations, including the $90 million production Batgirl:
- The Gordita Chronicles
- house party
- Miracle Twins
- Scoob!: Vacation Home
- Raised by wolves
- made for love
- The wife of the time traveler
- Near enough
- Little cubits
That would be a 40 percent increase from the combined 92 million subscribers the two services currently have.
Zaslav said the company is making a “strategic switch” from releasing movies direct to streaming services because it makes less financial sense.
“This idea of expensive movies being streamed direct, we can’t find any commercial sense for it,” he said.
As a result of this new strategy, the company recently canceled the release of the $90 million film Batgirl, in addition to Wonder Twins and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.
Zaslav added that the company’s focus “will be theatrical films, and when we get theatrical films to HBO Max, we find that they’re a lot more valuable.”
The merger of Discovery+ and HBO Max will result in more unscripted programs being acquired by Discovery+, with the unscripted originals of HBO Max being removed or retained based on performance.
Future layoffs are to be expected at WarnerBros. discovery staff.
A merger between the two services is expected to be complete by next year, with a new name for the unified platform yet to be decided.
“This idea of expensive movies being streamed directly, we can’t find any commercial sense for it,” Zaslav said
Warner Bros. recently halted its $90 million production of Batgirl, along with Wonder Twins and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.