Warner Bros. Discovery is expected to release its first quarterly earnings report since its merger this week, and there are rumors of mass layoffs and other shakeups coming to the company. Sources at the company told reporters from The Wrap that they expect Thursday's report to include announcements of "major restructuring," perhaps including the combination of the two streaming platforms HBO Max and Discovery+.
Insiders say that merging HBO Max and Discovery+ would most likely be accomplished by significant layoffs at HBO Max. That would include executives and staff who would be redundant when paired with their Discovery+ counterparts. Anonymous sources in the talent management industry also said that Warner executives have been quietly dropping hints to them that the two streamers will soon be combined.
Two separate sources told reporters that they expect about 70 percent of development staff to be cut at HBO Max. One Hollywood agent said: "HBO Max has a development team, which is a lot of overhead, and why do you need a development team at HBO and HBO Max? It's redundant. Just have Casey Bloys' team do all the scripted TV development."
Several others from throughout the industry backed up this rumor that HBO content chief Casey Bloys will soon be in a much more senior position – possibly in charge of all scripted content across HBO Max and Discovery+. "HBO is very safe. If this was Game of Thrones, Casey Bloys won," another agent reportedly told The Wrap. Bloys' new role may even put him in charge of all the unscripted content on the Discovery side of things as well. Sources also said that the line between scripted and unscripted content will be much more clear under the new regime.
Rumors and speculation about layoffs at Warner Bros. Discovery have been building since the merger was announced, but they reportedly reached a crescendo on Wednesday when the company announced that its mostly-complete Batgirl film will be scrapped. An insider said that the staff at HBO are "all freaking out," and that "all I know is they're folding HBO Max into HBO, and there will be redundancies."
"Everyone in Warner Bros. Discovery is nervous at the moment, and [they're] starting to look at alternative job options in case they get the axe," another source said. "Sounds like they're not doing HBO Max scripted shows anymore with HBO taking over, so less scripted shows overall."
For reference, HBO Max reportedly has 76.8 million subscribers at the moment while Discovery+ has 24 million. Competitors are still way ahead – Netflix has 220.7 million subscribers and Disney+ as 137.7 million. However, public perception is a little confused when it comes to HBO Max. Many commenters on social media this week have remarked on how successful the streamer seems to be, and how disappointed they would be if it got overhauled at this point.
So far, Warner Bros. Discovery has not commented directly on any of these reports. The company's earnings report is expected out on Thursday, at which the truth behind these rumors will presumably come to light.0comments