Monday, April 15, 2024

Hollywood Horror At HBO/Warner’s: Will Zas Attack Max, Home of “Hacks,” Swing Axe, Sack Staff?


The larger entertainment community is counting down to 4:30pm today.

That’s when the Warner Discovery earnings call will turn the town on its ear.

CEO David Zaslav, who came with Discovery Channel and bought the Warner assets, is about to make the Red Wedding look like a Sweet Sixteen party.

The word on the street is that he’s getting rid of HBO Max, combining it with Discovery Plus, and laying off 70% of the staff.

All the time, money, and energy invested in making HBO Max the biggest streaming service will be chucked out the window. There will just be HBO cable, and HBO you pay for. Period.

To that end, yesterday HBO removed a bunch of HBO Max movies from the streamer. This also comes as Zaslav shelved the $90 mil “Batgirl” movie and $40 mil “Scoob.” He doesn’t want anyone to see them (which sounds more and more ridiculous as the hours pass). “The Flash” could be next. Wait for that film festival!

All this is despite HBO Max successes like the comedy, “Hacks,” which has won a slew of awards and been hailed as among the best on any kind of TV.

The worry now is that Zaslav could be retooling HBO, the most successful cable entity in the universe, so that it will be unrecognizable. HBO could become just a “tab” under Discovery Plus which would be bizarre to the max.

Also breaking and a sign of just that: “Warner Discovery will launch a CNN Originals section on the subscription-video hub Discovery Plus, creating a new venue for CNN series and documentary films, as well as original programs from sister cable network HLN, which focuses largely on true-crime content. The CNN programming will be made available starting August 19th.”

So hold on for 4:30pm, when the axe comes down.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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