The union of HBO Max and Discovery+ is already causing pain through layoffs, and now the move is affecting some shows. Warner Bros. Discovery has confirmed to Variety that it's removing 36 titles from HBO Max as soon as this week while it prepares for the Discovery+ platform merger. Most of the productions aren't huge, but they do include recognizable HBO work like the Sesame Street spinoff The Not-too-Late-Show with Elmo and the Peter Dinklage movie My Dinner with Hervé. A handful of Cartoon Network shows are leaving.
In a statement, HBO Max said content would disappear from both services as it worked to bring the media libraries "together under one platform." The provider didn't elaborate on its reasoning, although Variety noted that pulling the shows outright (instead of canceling future seasons) would help HBO Max avoid paying more royalties. Warner Bros. Discovery said it would find $3 billion in savings as part of the corporate merger.
As you might imagine, at least some affected producers aren't happy — this not only cuts off income, but might prevent people from seeing their work unless it finds another home. Summer Camp Island creator Julia Pott noted that some episodes developed during the pandemic will never see the light of day. Warner Bros. Discovery has "no respect for artists," she said.
The combination of HBO Max and Discovery+ is expected to launch in summer 2023. While it's not clear if Warner Bros. Discovery will drop more shows or otherwise slash costs, this latest move won't be reassuring if you were hoping your favorite series would make the leap to the unified service.