HBO Rocked With Massive Layoffs

In the continued shakeup around Warner Bros. Discovery, it looks like there is a major round of layoffs going down at HBO

By Doug Norrie | Published

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There are major shakeups going on in the entertainment world right now, specifically where Warner Bros. Discovery and HBO are concerned. We already knew that one of the major, big-budget movies from the studio was getting scrapped in the name of a tax write-off and other projects were seemingly being canceled left and right. It’s all part of a restructuring for the company and it looks like there are even more changes on the way. The Hollywood Reporter has it that HBO and its teams are letting go of a big part of their staff and it will likely impact content on both flagship and the streamer HBO Max. 

While these cuts at HBO Max were somewhat suspected as part of the overall moves Warner Bros was making after the merger with Discovery, they still represent a shift for the company that could have downstream effects on the output over the next many years. Apparently, 14% of the HBO Max staff, 70 people in total, were let go on Monday and were part of an effort for Warner Bros. Discovery to cut costs across the board. It’s something we are seeing in all phases of their business right now and there is a chance more changes are coming as well. 

This move to lay off HBO staff comes at a time when it looks like HBO Max will be merging its content with Discovery+ as part of the two companies becoming one entity. And because unscripted series, of which Discovery has plenty, cost considerably less money, it was thought that the business model for WB and HBO specifically would begin to focus much less on scripted series and movies and more on the unscripted. Because of the bottom line. 

And along with these movies, there was some shuffling of the deck within HBO and HBO Max in terms of departments and which different entities will be reporting to who from here on in. HBO Max comedy will now report under the greater HBO comedy umbrella. And international productions will now be under the comedy and drama departments at the company. Other departments are being streamlined as well with THR reporting that the company was looking to trim $3 billion off the budget following the merger.

With Warner Bros. looking to push more resources into true blockbuster films while scrapping the middle-of-the-road budgeted offerings, we saw this playing out with their DC offerings first and foremost. The biggest example, of course, was Warner Media CEO David Zaslav and his team opted to cancel the upcoming Batgirl movie despite having sunk about $100 million into the production and, you know, completing the filming. But along with this, there’s been the word that scripted DC content on HBO Max would be getting similar treatment outside of a few tentpole-type characters or proven series (think Peacemaker or the upcoming Green Lantern).

As for what happens now fully on the HBO side, that remains to be seen. Layoffs are never a good thing with getting more content, and it sure looks like we are headed for a totally new landscape where HBO content is concerned.