Image Source: The Verge
In preparation for the planned merger of the HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services next year, Warner Bros. Discovery is ready to share some of the adjustments made at HBO Max after weeks of rumors. Additionally, HBO will reduce the size of its reality programming division.
Around 14% of the workforce overseen by Casey Bloys, the chief content officer of HBO/HBO Max, will be cut due to the modifications. That corresponds to approximately 70 individuals being let go as a result of this restructuring.
Due to the changes, the existing HBO Max head of original content, Sarah Aubrey, will now concentrate her oversight on the Max Originals drama slate. In addition, she will now collaborate with the Warner Bros. Discovery Foreign team, led by Gerhard Zeiler, on international programming strategy due to the adjustments. As the lead for Max Originals drama, Joey Chavez, executive VP of programming, will continue to report to Aubrey.
Amy Gravitt, head of comedy and executive VP of programming for HBO, will now be in charge of the comedy department, uniting HBO and Max Original comedy under one team. The former head of HBO Max comedy, Suzanna Makkos, will now report to Gravitt.
The Max Originals non-fiction (also known as its reality team) and live-action family originals divisions would have fewer resources under the new system, as has been hotly rumored. The other HBO programming direct reports for Bloys are unaltered.
HBO Max division the first to get trimmed
The firm didn’t think it made sense to have a group at HBO Max continue to develop and create reality when that genre will be well-covered in the merged product that will soon include thousands of hours of reality television from the Discovery side. Existing programs like “FBoy Island” will keep airing, and there will still be staff members working to keep the lights on.
Moving away from kids’ programming is a reflection of the realization that creating that business would require a much greater scale and that the demand for that programming on HBO Max at this time does not warrant such an investment.
HBO Max’s casting department will be among the other areas affected; HBO doesn’t have in-house casting and prefers for the executives to have direct interaction with the casting director. The group responsible for HBO pay-one deals, third-party library deals, and acquisitions are also cutting back. The need for a sizable acquisitions department was eliminated with the release of “Avatar” in 2023, HBO’s final external pay-one deal, and the fact that most businesses are now producing all of their content internally. There will be some library and pay two and three agreements, but Warner will handle most of the major purchases.