Warner Bros. Discovery Boss Rewarded For Canceling Fan Favorite Shows

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav recently received a $12 million bonus and a $202 million stock option grant after cutting costs by $50 million.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

warner bros discovery david zaslav
David Zaslav

While many Warner Bros fans have been crying over the loss of a slew of their favorite shows and films, CEO David Zaslav is seeing nothing but dollar signs. According to a report from Deadline, the top dog over at Warner Bros Discovery has seen his earnings shoot up over the last year through not only cash compensation but more stock units. The new report suggests that along with being the recipient of the annual performance-related restricted stock (PRSU) that was set at $12 million, the exec could also manage to double his number of shares if Warner Bros Discovery nails their targeted projections. 

In addition to these already unfathomable monetary rewards, Warner Bros Discovery is gearing up to dole out an additional PRSU clocking in at somewhere around $11.5 million to David Zaslav both this year and the next two years. One of the highest-paid CEOs in the entertainment and media industry, last year Zaslav deposited a whopping $276 million into the bank which only skyrocketed higher due to a $202 million stock option grant when he re-signed with the company before the highly publicized Warner Bros Discovery merger. The latest figures come as a big pat on the back to the CEO who has been charged with slimming down the company’s debt which clocked in at a staggering $50 million at the end of last year. 

While it may appear that Warner Bros Discovery is giving only David Zaslav a taste of the good life, it was also revealed that the company is planning to dole out another $27 million worth of PRSUs for other employees and high-chaired executives. In a statement made alongside the announcement, WBD board chairman Samuel A. Piazza, Jr. said that “the changes to the Warner Bros Discovery executive compensation [programs] are designed to further incentivize Company employees.” It’s with this opportunity of monetary gain that Warner Bros Discovery is hoping to drive up the performance rates of its employees, therefore, cutting down the overall debt of the company. 

Hitting a few speed bumps along the way, the merger of Warner Bros and Discovery has proved to be a rocky ride for David Zaslav and the rest of the top execs at both companies who have needed to make some difficult decisions over the last almost year. From canning the much talked about Batgirl film to axing fan-favorite titles including Westworld, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Minx, the network has faced some harsh backlash from its fanbase. Carrying on in their mission to slash budget costs, it seems that those standing at the helm of Warner Bros Discovery don’t care how many feet they need to trample to get out of debt and make more money.

leslie grace batgirl

Things majorly shifted for the company in late October when it was announced that James Gunn and Peter Safran would be taking over DC Studios. As a subsidiary of Warner Bros, the superhero universe has been a major earner for David Zaslav and his team but has petered out with its productions and content in recent years. Now, with Gunn and Safran at the helm, audiences are gearing up to see what the duo will come up with.

But, just like the Warner Bros Discovery merger, David Zaslav, James Gunn, and Peter Safran are facing pushback from fans who are upset over changes that have seen Henry Cavill stepping down from the role of Superman and the possibility that a Wonder Woman 3 may never be made. Still, with major titles on the way including Superman: Legacy and Supergirl: World of Tomorrow, it’s clear that the Warner Bros Discovery heads are hoping to keep that money rolling in, which means more payoffs for Zaslav and the rest of the team at the top.