Following the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery last year, plans were put in place to merge the streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+. For months, it was unclear how this integration would play out. But under the new leadership of CEO David Zaslav, the upcoming merger is beginning to suffer casualties in the form of HBO Max Original content.
The most notable casualty thus far is Batgirl. It was set to star Leslie Grace and feature Brendan Fraser as the villain. But the project was recently shelved due to allegedly poor test screenings. It was also revealed earlier today that a number of HBO Max Originals were quietly removed from the platform as part of a larger tax write-off. This has left many to wonder what the future holds for a number of other properties on the streamer.
HBO Max to close down its scripted TV show division
Now, according to a new report from The Wrap, HBO Max will close down its scripted TV show division and be absorbed into HBO. According to the report, 70% of the HBO Max development team will be laid off, with HBO reportedly planning to offer fewer scripted shows overall. The source statement read:
“All I know is they’re folding HBO Max into HBO. Sounds like they’re not doing HBO Max scripted shows anymore with HBO taking over, so less scripted shows overall.”
While HBO Max may no longer produce scripted shows, it is important to note that this does not necessarily mean that all existing Max Original scripted series will be canceled. For example, Peacemaker creator James Gunn recently confirmed that his show is safe despite the general upheaval at HBO Max.
What it does mean is that if any shows survive the merger, they will most likely no longer be Max Originals. But will instead be absorbed into the mainline HBO brand, similar to House of the Dragon or Euphoria.