Warner Bros. Discovery’s ruthless cancellation spree is all done being sprung.
CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said on Thursday that the months-long “chapter” in which the media company cancelled, shelved or un-renewed projects is now over — in part, because any such decisions in the name of tax write-downs needed to be made by the end of 2022.
As TVLine’s Dumb Things TV Did in 2022 review noted, the harsh calls made across the WBD catalog in the name of eventually hitting a $3.5 billion target in cost savings — be it the scrapping of already-filmed movies (Batgirl), cancellations of shows in progress (Westworld, The Nevers), “un-renewals” (Minx), snuffed premieres (the animated Batman: Caped Crusader) or the seemingly random removal of titles from the streaming service (Raised by Wolves, Gordita Chronicles, select Looney Tunes episodes) — felt like a death by a thousand cruel cuts.
But as Wiedenfels said at Citi’s 2023 Communications, Media & Entertainment Conference (h/t Variety), “We took a little bit of time to make sure that we do it properly. For some of the titles, we’ve found new homes elsewhere. That’s why this took six or seven months. But I think we’ve come to great solutions and, most importantly, we’re done with that chapter.
“That was very important to all of us, to really use 2022 to leave the purchase accounting behind us, leave those initial strategy changes behind us, get it all out there in terms of our restructuring estimates and then be able to turn the page forward,” the WBD CFO added. “I think the team has laid a great foundation and I’m really excited about the growth from here.”
Some of the TV episodes that were abruptly yanked from HBO Max (e.g. Westworld, The Nevers, Raised by Wolves, The Time Traveler’s Wife) may be shopped to FAST services such as Pluto TV and Peacock, while others (e.g. Gordita Chronicles, Minx) could end up elsewhere.