HBO Max Is Pulling 4 Popular Shows From Its Service Completely
Subscribers soon won't be able to stream any of the programs.
The splintering of cable packages into individual streaming services has dramatically impacted how we've watched TV over the past decade. Platforms are now competing with one another over keeping subscribers while still growing their customer base, typically by producing popular shows or providing access to live services like sports or news. And even though having just one smash hit in a season can be enough to move the needle, some streaming platforms are still forced to axe popular offerings for the sake of their budget—including those with a legacy of producing great content. The latest example is HBO Max, which just announced that it would be pulling four of its popular shows from its service completely. Read on to see why the streaming platform is suddenly dropping the programs.
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A major merger earlier this year is shaking up how things work at HBO Max.
Even those who aren't TV fans are aware of the cultural impact HBO has had on the entertainment industry over the past few decades. The premium channel has long been the network most others competed with in the hunt for prestigious awards, producing past hit shows like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, and The Wire, and still home to critic and audience favorites like Succession, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The White Lotus.
But a merger in April between the legacy channel's parent company WarnerMedia and the Discovery network appears to have drastically altered HBO Max's trajectory. In August, David Zaslav, chief executive of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery, announced that the service would merge with Discovery+ to create a single service, The Washington Post reported. Among other changes, the company announced that it would be pulling 36 titles from HBO Max as it struggled to control costs and stay within its budget—and warned that more drops would likely follow.
"As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery+," HBO Max said in a statement in August while announcing the titles' removal, per Variety. "That will include the removal of some content from both platforms."
Now, viewers will lose even more content in a surprising move.
HBO Max is pulling four popular shows from its streaming service sometime soon.
In its latest set of changes, HBO Max announced on Dec. 12 that it would be pulling its popular original shows Love Life, Minx, The Nevers, and Westworld from its platform, Deadline reports. The company didn't specify on which date the shows will become unavailable to stream.
The surprising news to remove the content comes barely more than a month after HBO Max announced that it was canceling its award-winning science fiction western drama Westworld just short of what was meant to be the show's concluding fifth season. The announcement also reversed a previous decision that greenlit Minx for its second season, which is currently finishing its last week of filming, Deadline reports.
The decision also finalizes the cancellation of The Nevers, which aired the first six episodes of its first season in 2021 and has a second set of six episodes that have not yet made it to TV. It also marks the official end of Love Sick—an anthology series starring and executive produced by Anna Kendrick that was one of the first major original titles for HBO Max—after just two seasons, according to Deadline.
The company is in the process of making year-end decisions—and more significant changes could follow.
While the decision may take viewers by surprise, the company is also in the process of trimming its spending as it makes some year-end financial reviews. They come as the latest moves from Warner Bros. Discovery to save $3.5 billion over the next three years, Variety reports. And while three of the four shows were already canceled or in production limbo, the company will ultimately save money by not having to pay residuals to cast and crew for airing them.
It also appears that other big changes could be in store for the streaming app. Last month, the Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it would be moving its planned merger of the HBO Max and Discovery+ platforms forward to spring 2023. The company is even rumored to be dropping HBO from its title altogether, working with the potential name "Max" for the new hybrid service, CNBC reported on Dec. 5.
The recently dropped shows might still find second lives on different platforms.
The current TV landscape has made it confusing to stay on top of exactly which shows end up where whenever contracts expire or cancelation orders come down. But it has also allowed some programs to find new life on other services—and the recently dropped HBO Max shows are no exception.
According to Deadline, Zaslav has previously expressed interest in launching more free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) services for customers in the future, potentially making a likely home for dramas like Westworld and The Nevers. And with its second season nearly finished, Lionsgate TV said it has plans to find a new home for Minx.
"We have enjoyed a good partnership with HBO Max and are working closely to find a new opportunity for Minx, so current, and new viewers, can continue this journey with us," the production company said in a statement, per Deadline.