'Westworld' Gets New Home After Getting Dropped by HBO Max

Westworld and several other Warner Bros. Discovery-owned shows that were removed from HBO Max have a new home. They will exclusively be available on Warner Bros. FAST channels on The Roku Channel app, starting in spring 2023. Westworld was among a group of HBO and HBO Max shows pulled from the streamer in December, as Warner Bros. Discovery sought new ways to earn revenue from the pricey projects.

The Warner Bros. Discovery FAST channels will include Westworld, Cake Boss, Say Yes To The Dress, The Bachelor, FBoy Island, and more, Roku said in a statement on Tuesday. The channels will launch in the spring. Roku and Warner Bros. Discovery's deal will also bring over 2,000 hours of on-demand content to The Roku Channel from WBD brands like HBO, HBO Max, Food Network, TLC, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, and the Discovery Channel.

"As FAST continues to explode in popularity amongst cord-cutters, we're seeing content players increasingly shift their focus towards capturing this audience, by bringing some of their best stuff to FAST," Rob Holmes, Roku's vice president of programming, said in a statement. "The rapid expansion of premium content on FAST is a win for both the viewer and content owner, as well as advertisers looking to reach these audiences through well-known programming. We're delighted to be one of Warner Bros. Discovery's inaugural FAST partners, and we look forward to introducing its incredible TV series, films, and entertainment brands to a whole new audience on The Roku Channel."

FAST is an acronym for free ad-supported streaming television. These platforms, including Pluto TV, Tubi, and Amazon's Freevee, have become increasingly popular as television fans search for lower-cost streaming options. They offer non-stop, programmed content often centered around a theme. WBD's first FAST deal with a third party will hold the company over until it launches its own FAST channels.

After Westworld and The Nevers were removed from HBO Max, there were reports that they could be used as the centerpieces for FAST channel deals. In December, WBD confirmed that this was the company's plan. Gordita Chronicles, Love Life, Made for Love, The Garcias, Minx, Raised by Wolves, FBOY Island, Legendary, Finding Magic Mike, Head of the Class, and The Time Traveler's Wife were also removed from HBO Max around this time. (Minx likely isn't included in the FAST channel deals since it was rescued by Starz. The Nevers is included in a separate FAST channels deal WBD struck with Tubi, notes Deadline.)

"As shared on previous earnings call and stated by senior executives, Warner Bros. Discovery continues to strategically assess how best to maximize audiences and monetization opportunities for its content," WBD said in a statement in December. "The company has recently decided to license certain HBO and HBO Max original programming to third-party FAST services to be part of a packaged offering which will drive new, expanded audiences for these series."