Warner Bros. Discovery cuts around 70 jobs at HBO Max

After rumors circulated that Warner Bros. Discovery was to announce a massive restructuring for HBO Max, the company has reportedly cut a number of jobs — though not nearly as much as feared. Warner Bros. Discovery is cutting about 14 percent of its workforce, or about 70 jobs, under the purview of Casey Bloys, chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max. according to Variety.

HBO Max fans had reason to worry about worse budget cuts – Warner Bros. Discovery shelved Batgirl earlier this month (allegedly for a tax write-off) and has quietly pulled several HBO Max-exclusive movies out of order. But before Warner Bros. Discovery replacing HBO Max and Discovery Plus with one combined service next summer, the company is making some changes.

“As we consider adding the Discovery content offering to HBO Max for an eventual combined platform, we have had to make the incredibly difficult decision to disband or restructure the following teams, none of which reflect the contributions of the individuals working here. affected,” according to a memo from Bloys, who Warner Bros. Discovery shared with Custom Hour. Those affected include HBO Max’s reality unit, casting and content acquisition teams.

Team,

First of all, I want to thank and acknowledge you all for the unparalleled, incredible work you have done in all of our programming efforts. This team has achieved success with an unprecedented set of challenges – from 140 Emmy nominations for our brand to the recent coverage celebrating HBO Max as one of the best streaming services on the market. I commend your focus and commitment to excellence in these very uncertain times.

Unfortunately, the environment in which we operate is changing rapidly, and it is up to us to continue refining our model to chart a course for long-term success. As you heard from David Zaslav on our latest call for profit, producing high-quality HBO/Max scripted content is critical to the future of WBD. Part of this process includes an honest assessment of what we need to move forward.

To best align our strengths and strategy with the challenges and opportunities ahead, I’m announcing the following organizational changes.

Max. scripted originals

Sarah Aubrey will continue to oversee Max Originals’ drama series and expand its responsibilities with a key strategic global role. Since the platform’s inception, Sarah has been a tirelessly dynamic leader, with a diverse and long list of successes including The Flight Attendant, Peacemaker, And Just Like That…, The Sex Lives of College Girls and The Staircase, among many others. Building on this, and as our company grows in its global ambition and reach, Sarah will work with Gerhard Zeiler and his team, among others, to define and implement our international programming strategy. Joey Chavez, EVP Programming, will continue to report to Sarah as the lead actor for Max Originals drama, and together they will focus on developing and producing tentpole IP series such as Peacemaker, Dune, The Penguin and Green Lantern.

Susanna Makkos will now report to Amy Gravitt, Head of Comedy and EVP, Programming for HBO. Suzanna led an incredibly successful comedy series for Max Originals, punctuated by the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning series Hacks, as well as The Sex Lives of College Girls, Rap Sh!t and Julia, as well as animated series including the upcoming Velma and Young Love. This transition will align our scripted comedy under one powerful, genre-redefining team; and by uniting this division under Amy, we can maximize our effectiveness in further building our slate for both the HBO and Max Originals brands. Suzanna will also continue to lead the adult entertainment programs for Adult Swim.

Aside from Amy now overseeing a combined HBO/HBO Max comedy group, the HBO leadership remains unchanged. Francesca OrsicHBO’s Head of Drama and EVP Programming will continue to lead the HBO Originals drama team. Nancy Abraham, EPP Programming, and Lisa HellerEVP Programming, will continue to lead HBO’s documentary series, and Nina RosensteinEVP programming, continues to lead our late night, talk and specials content.

While considering adding the Discovery content offering to HBO Max for an eventual combined platform, we’ve had to make the incredibly difficult decision to disband or restructure the following teams, none of which reflect the contributions of the individuals here affected.

Max Originals Nonfiction and Live-Action Family Originals

Jen O’Connell and her talented team have led a diverse, impressive and entertaining series, with titles ranging from competition series including the Emmy-winning Legendary to FBOY Island, 12 Dates of Christmas and Finding Magic Mike; to documentaries such as Class Action Park, The Way Down and On The Record; and family programs such as Gordita Chronicles. I can’t say enough about my respect for Jen’s talent, vision and passionate commitment to inclusive content. As we progress we will not be adding any new reality/documentaries to the Max slate. For existing Max reality programming, we will make innovation decisions based on traditional measures of success.

International Originals, HBO Max

Given the extensive international presence of Warner Bros. Discovery, led by Gerhard Zeiler, we will no longer have an American team dedicated to pursuing these opportunities. During her time at HBO Max, Jennifer Kim, SVP International Originals, was responsible for programming international content, including the critically acclaimed limited series It’s A Sin and the Peabody Award-winning Sort Of. I extend my sincere thanks to Jen and her team for all their inspired work. Going forward, similar to the model used at HBO for titles like Years and Years, I May Destroy You and My Brilliant Friend, the individual drama and comedy teams will evaluate and pursue any international co-productions they find valuable outside of Warner. brothers. Discovery.

Casting, HBO Max

To reflect the model who has proven successful at HBO over the years, we will no longer have an in-house casting department for Max Originals. Linda Lowy, EVP Casting, is one of the most gifted casting managers in the industry. She and her team have much to be proud of, and the impact of their contributions can be seen in the groundbreaking Max Original series.

Content Acquisitions, HBO & HBO Max

Here too, our model will change, with a significant reduction in the size of the team. This reflects a changing need as the industry moves away from Pay 1 deals and third-party acquisitions, and as a company we leverage our proprietary library from the Warner Bros. portfolio. Michael Quigley, EVP, Content Acquisition, who joined the HBO Max team shortly before the platform’s launch, is leaving. During his time with the company, Michael led major acquisition deals, including South Park, and led a talented team in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. He has been an agile leader in the changing market and I wish him every success in the future.Royce Battleman SVP, Content Acquisition, a key member of HBO’s Acquisitions team for nearly three decades, will lead the newly restructured division and now report to Glenn Whitehead, President, Business Affairs & Production for HBO & HBO Max.

While I am confident that these structural changes will allow us to maintain a thriving business model, these decisions were extremely painful to make. We operate in an environment where we have to adapt in real time to the demands of the industry and the company. None of this lessens the blow of parting with such talented, trusted, hard-working and celebrated teammates. I extend my deepest appreciation to each of them as they transition to their next opportunity.

More coming soon as I will be gathering my core team where I can provide more insight into these changes and the road ahead and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.

Casey

Update August 15, 7:34 PM ET: Added memo from Casey Bloys.

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