HBO Max is ringing in the new year by cutting even more programming from the service. As of December 31st, Warner Bros. Discovery removed seasons 16-31 of “Looney Tunes.” These make up 256 of the 511 episodes that had been hosted on the streaming platform. So about half of the iconic series got cut, and we’ll never know if it’s duck or rabbit season.
This is just the latest in a wave of removals from HBO Max which seems to be effecting everything, but mostly animated/children’s programming. So far pulled titles include “Aquaman: King of Atlantis,” “Infinity Train,” “Esme & Roy,” “Little Ellen,” “Summer Camp Island,” “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo,” “The Runaway Bunny,” “Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs,” and the bulk of “Sesame Street” all of these are HBO Max original programming. And, while not original programming, seasons 4-6 of “The Flintstones” were axed along with its aforementioned spin-off “Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.”
These removals are still all a result of the recent Warner Bros. Discovery merger. Part of the deal with Discovery buying WarnerMedia is that CEO David Zaslav promised they could find $3.5 billion in savings within the combined company. This had led to them scrapping everything they can to cut costs. Even removing some of their hit shows like “The Nevers” and “Westworld.” Not to mention canceling already/almost completed projects like the “Batgirl” movie and season 2 of both “Minx” and “Chad.”
“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+,” a statement from HBO Max said. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.” Kind of the exact the opposite of what customers are hoping for. Typically when companies like this merge it allows for licensing crossovers which creates MORE content, not less.
But Warner Bros. Discovery management has pushed back, claiming nothing removed from HBO Max was being watched enough to provide the company with value. The only possible silver lining here is the company is allegedly creating a free-with-ads streaming platform. This is in an attempt to compete with streamers like Tubi and the Roku Channel. So it’s possible they’re pulling less popular animated shows and later seasons of classic cartoons to bolster that library. While leaving earlier seasons on HBO Max’s paid subscription service. Only time will tell how much content we will lose or possibly get back.