HBO Max Just Removed Tons Of Content From One Of The Most Beloved Series
Over half of all Looney Tunes shorts on HBO Max were removed without warning, along with seasons four through six of The Flintstones.
According to the Cartoon News CCN Twitter account, HBO Max removed 256 Warner Bros’ legendary Looney Tunes shorts and some episodes of ABC’s The Flintstones from its streaming platform. The shorts are from the 16th to 31st seasons of the series and represent roughly half of the Looney Toons shorts on HBO Max. The removal may be temporary, but fans are upset.
Many have mentioned their preference for HBO Max was mainly because it included legacy animated content. Fans of DC legacy films and series, Hana Barbara cartoons, and Cartoon Network properties, thought of the network as the go-to platform for their favorite content. However, many feel the web has de-prioritized animated content and written it off as children’s programming.
Followers replied to the tweet with a mixture of disbelief, shock, and anger. As they pointed out, Looney Tunes is a cornerstone WB property and should be preserved for fans to rewatch in perpetuity. However, a few Twitter users and at least one YouTube video claim that HBO Max removed the shorts for routine maintenance and will add them back to the platform.
The stand-alone streaming platform has not released a statement about the removal, but several fans feel confident the content will return. Among the deductions from HBO Max, Looney Tunes is joined by seasons 4-6 of the Flintstones. It’s unclear if any other content will be or has been removed.
Some fans suspect the removal is tied to the recent merger in April 2022 between the owner of HBO Max (WarnerMedia) and Discovery, creating the new Warner Brothers Discovery. Many users on Twitter mention the union and express disbelief that a cornerstone property like Looney Tunes would be included in merger-related changes. However, even viewers who didn’t mention the merger directly said their qualms with the platform began in April 2022.
Other fans are quick to personally blame Chief Executive Officer and President of Warner Bros David Zaslav. The exec has made public statements that his highest priority at Warner Bros is to increase revenue, but his time at the platform has been far from smooth, purging HBO Max of Looney Tunes content is only the tip of the iceberg. His beef with another streaming platform put sales on hold for weeks.
Zaslav took issue with competitor streaming platform Netflix over their payment structure for finished shows. In essence, Netflix pays out over an 18-month to two-year period, which insiders at Warner Bros have called a standard industry practice. Netflix and Warner Brothers have been using this pay structure for more than two years without issue.
At the end of 2022, David Zaslav took issue with the payment structure to the confusion of some of his colleagues. Warner Bros and Zaslav sell shows like You, Sweet Tooth, and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Zaslav was so upset with the payment structure between the two companies that he allegedly told his team to take a break from selling the platform new shows. A decision that contradicts his intended priority to maximize revenue.
Because Zaslav is known for this disagreement with Netflix, canceling shows with passionate fan bases, and now removing foundational titles from HBO Max, Twitter users haven’t held back their feelings about the tough executive. Hopefully, the missing Looney Tunes episodes will be restored, and this won’t be added to the list of reasons fans dislike Zaslav.