Hollywood is in discussions about Warner Bros. Discovery’s upcoming earnings results and plans for a combined streaming service that could boost its most popular streamers
According to a top Hollywood manager, Zaslav and his surrogate are quietly telegraphing to top listeners and talent that HBO content chief Casey Bloys will take on a more senior role as the two streaming platforms combine.
We’re told HBO hitmaker Bloys is receiving 140 Emmy nominations and is set to launch a “Game of Thrones” prequel “Dragon’s House” On August 21st, Will of course will take charge of all written material.
“HBO is pretty safe. If it was ‘Game of Thrones,’ Casey Bloys would have won,” said a Hollywood agent with knowledge of the plans.
The Bloys may also take responsibility for the overall content, including Discovery’s slate of unscripted shows. But other insiders tell us that Unscripted is likely to come under an executive from the Discovery side of the company, which has created its own brand with nonfiction content created for cable channels Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, History, and more. has made. Whoever leads the content is expected to report directly to Zaslav.
When it comes to appeasing Hollywood’s top creators, WBD is in a precarious position, which was made even more urgent on Wednesday. The studio postponed the DC Comics film “Batgirl”. The entertainment industry was surprised that the mostly completed film starring Leslie Grace, which cost nearly $90 million to make, would not be seen theatrically or on its streaming services.
Speculation that layoffs were at hand began to ripple through the HBO offices on Tuesday afternoon, with an insider saying that employees of the pay-TV channel are “all upset” and “I know they’re going to get HBO Max on HBO.” are adding up, and there will be redundancy.”
“Everyone at Warner Bros. Discovery is nervous at the moment, and [they’re] A company insider said that if they get the axe, they will start looking at alternative job options. “Looks like they’re no longer doing HBO Max scripted shows HBO has taken over, so there are fewer scripted shows overall.”
HBO Max growth is expected to be particularly hard hit with layoffs with two sources accounting for 70% of the cut of dev staff. “HBO Max has a development team, which is a lot of overhead,” explained the agent with knowledge. “And why do you need a development team at HBO and HBO Max? It’s rubbish. Just ask the team at Casey Bloys to do all the scripted TV development.”
A representative for Warner Bros. Discovery did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Wall Street is hoping that Warner Bros. Discovery will soon take some major steps to reinvigorate the company’s streaming assets, including news powerhouse CNN. But Zaslav and his top representatives have remained silent about the timing or structure of its streaming strategy. And there’s been a lot of speculation about what the new service will be called — keeping the HBO and Discovery brands, or potentially a new name for the iconic Warner Bros.
It’s unclear what Zaslav’s streaming plans are for CNN. Chris Licht, a personal friend of Zaslav’s who was hired to replace Jeff Zucker at CNN, has the indomitable task of overhauling the news network’s streaming fortunes. CNN+ . after the defeat, It remains to be seen whether it will be paired with the newly combined Discovery-HBO streaming service in some way.
HBO and HBO Max have 76.8 million subscribers as of the end of March, while Discovery+ has 24 million. By comparison, Netflix has 220.7 million subscribers while Disney+ has 137.7 million.
Zaslav, who put together Discovery’s $43 billion deal to buy WarnerMedia and was Paid $246 million to do soOn Thursday, the newly combined company releases first quarter results. Wall Street will hang on to its every word about the promise of $3 billion in merger cost savings, and any details about the movie slate ambitions.
Warner Bros. Discovery stock is up 12% over the past three trading sessions and continued higher on Wednesday. But markets are uneasy about how successful Zaslav might be in trying to completely fix a bloated studio system while at the same time fearing a slowdown in the economy.
Zaslav has been in the fast lane since taking power nearly 100 days ago.
His ouster of Warner Bros. chief Toby Emmerich led to a new lineup of film industry heavy hitters. He brought on former Disney film chief Alan Horn last week to help cowboy along with the company’s theatrical strategy. new studio head Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdi.
Zaslav has thrown down the gauntlet Breaking the studio into three separate divisions – Warner Bros. and New Line, DC Entertainment and Warner Animation Group – with a Disney-style structure that reports directly to him. This new three-silo system gives Zaslav the ability to run Warner Bros. “Like an old school movie mogul,” said a Warner insider. even this weekend The $23 million “DC League of Super-Pets” launch The pandemic-era box office period of summer didn’t do too shabby.