Stephen P. Neary, creator of the animated series The Fungies!, has criticized HBO Max for taking his Jennifer Coolidge-voiced show off the service.
The mushrooms! is among 30 titles set to be removed from the streamer as Warner Bros. Discovery continues its cost-cutting efforts and ahead of the merger of the HBO Max and Discovery+ services next year.
Targeting a lack of publicity for his “fever dream of a show,” Neary also highlighted the fact that he and his team have worked hard during the pandemic to ensure it can air.
Neary, who has also worked on Cartoon Network’s Clarence and as a story artist on animated features like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Rio, said on Twitter: “Last night during a character drawing class I found out that The Fungies! was pulled from HBO Max this week. I’m heartbroken, but I want to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing artists and production people for their hard work on this genuine, feverish dream show.”
Stephen Neary Cartoon Network Studios
The mushrooms! ran for three seasons and 80 episodes and premiered in August 2020, with the third and final season premiering in December 2021. The show is set in a prehistoric and mythological metropolis of Fungietown in a strange world inhabited by some mushroom-like looking creatures and the occasional dinosaur. The series follows the adventures of Seth, one of the town’s young mushroom-dwellers whose love of scientific adventure often ends up causing trouble with the locals and learning to understand others.
HBO/HBO Max Layoffs Hit Max Reality, Acquisitions, Casting & Int’l; Scripted operation is restructured
“We’ve worked so hard during the pandemic and I hoped the hard work would be rewarded with the support of the network,” Neary continued. “[I] was promised the show would air on Cartoon Network, which would drive calls to HBO Max, but shortly after launch, the show was pulled from the air without notice. There was little to no advertising. Although I was kindly asked to speak on a mushroom podcast, a company representative oversaw the recording so I wouldn’t ‘spoiler’ the show.”
He added that the fact that “better known shows” were also being pulled made it clear these were “uninformed, money-driven decisions.”
“My heart goes out to the other shows affected, and the beautiful work is being canceled before it even airs. I will keep making stuff! Even if it’s just for me. I’ve always done this since I was very, very small. Thanks everyone,” he continued.
The cast included Harry Teitelman as Seth, and Zaela Rae, Justin Mitchell, Niki Yang, Grace Kaufman, Sam Richardson, Edi Patterson, Tama Brutsche, Terry Gross, Mary Faber, June Squibb, Chris Diamantopoulos, Eric Gemstone and Coolidge provided their voices the character of dr. Nancy.
It was produced by Cartoon Network Studios.
Neary is the latest animator to take to social media to slam the decision to halt the shows. On Wednesday, Summer Camp Island creator Julia Pott also shared her disappointment, saying that HBO Max is pulling off the episodes “like we’re nothing.”
Last night during a character drawing class I found out that The Fungies! was pulled from HBO Max this week. I’m heartbroken, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing artists and production people for their hard work on this genuinely feverish dream of a show pic.twitter.com/hJ9DP1WvRd
— Stephen P. Neary (@StephenPNeary) August 18, 2022