If you've been on Twitter in the past 48 hours, you've likely seen folks screaming about streaming. Why? Because your favorite HBO Max shows might be at risk, what with the recent news that the platform is being replaced with a brand new service come 2023.
In a media-merger move straight out of Succession (don't worry, that Emmy juggernaut is safe—more on that in a bit), CEO of Warner Bros Discovery David Zaslav announced on an earnings call on Thursday, August 4 that both HBO Max and Discovery Plus are on the outs in favor of a single streaming platform, per The Verge (opens in new tab).
As reported by Variety (opens in new tab), the new platform will combine elements of both HBO Max and Discovery Plus, said JB Perettte, CEO and president of global streaming and interactive for Warner Bros. Discovery. "At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way we saw to make this a viable business,” Perrette said.
The move comes after Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia formally merged in April 2022, and in the wake of a number of shocking programming announcements by the parent company, including the shelving of DC superhero film Batgirl as a tax write-off, and the quiet removal of HBO Max original movies like Moonshot and The Witches, and series like Vinyl, Mrs. Fletcher and Camping.
So, what does all of this media mess mean for you?
What is going on with HBO Max? Are your shows safe?
First thing's first: your favorite HBO titles like Succession, Euphoria, Barry, The White Lotus, The Gilded Age and the upcoming House of the Dragon—which are available to stream on HBO Max but are not actually HBO Max originals—are all presumably safe, so take a deep breath.
The series you should be concerned about are HBO Max originals, such as The Flight Attendant, the Gossip Girl reboot, And Just Like That, The Sex Lives of College Girls, Minx, Our Flag Means Death and recent platform addition, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. (We're pretty confident that Emmy darling Hacks is in the clear.)
In all of the company restructuring, the powers that be have already canceled HBO Max originals including Made for Love, Gordita Chronicles, Raised by Wolves, Close Enough and Time Traveler’s Wife this summer alone. What will be next on the chopping block? Painfully, we'll just have to stay tuned.
As for that new combined streamer, there are no specifics yet in terms of pricing, timing or even an official brand name. However, Vulture (opens in new tab) reports that the company is "focused on launching our combined SVOD product with ad-free and ad-lite offerings,” and that there is talk of a free, ad-supported tier to come in the future.
In the meantime, if you love a show, you might want to invest in a good old-fashioned DVD or Blu-Ray copy of it, just in case your favorite series disappears into the streaming ether.
Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life.
More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.
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