Since the beginning of the month , HBO Max has removed several original series from the platform including Camping, Mrs. Fletcher, Here and Now, Run and Vinyl, and original features such as The Witches, Superintelligence and Moonshot .
This move follows Warner Bros Discovery ‘s announcement of wanting to create a new platform that will combine HBO Max and Discovery + .
By deleting these titles from its library the company will no longer have to pay the license fees of these titles and the undue residuals.
The only comment shared by the company was this:
“As we work to bring our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery +. This will result in the removal of some content from both platforms.
At the same time, we are already starting to bring together our content catalogs, such as the launch of the new CNN Originals Hub on Discovery + and a curated collection of Magnolia Network content coming to HBO Max.”
We don’t know why these specific titles have been removed, given the presence of hit series like Infinity Train , or if the company has plans for these series in the near future.
Animated series removed
Last week, 37 titles were removed, of which 25 were animated products.
Aquaman: King of Atlantis
Esme & Roy
Summer Camp Island
The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo (and some Sesame Street specials)
The Runaway Bunny
Tig n ‘Seek
Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs
CARTOON NETWORK ORIGINALS
Elliott From Earth
Mao Mao, Heroes of Pure Heart
OK KO! – Let’s Be Heroes
Victor and Valentino
Messy Goes to Okido
Mia’s Magic Playground
The Ollie & Moon Show
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
Owen Dennis explains the situation
Infinity Train creator Owen Dennis updated his profile as follows:
“Creator of #InfinityTrain, a show that has been removed from @HBOMax and can now only be pirated.”
— 🧢🐸 Frogs in hats 🐸🧢 (@OweeeeenDennis) August 18, 2022
On his blog he dedicated a long post to cancellations, providing interesting information:
“Wednesday’s announcement of the removal of Infinity Train, OKKO, Summer Camp Island, The Fungies and many other shows from HBOMax came as a shock to all of us. Not just for the fans, but also for the creators and artists who made the shows. I had no idea what was going to happen, nor did the other creators of the shows I spoke to, nor their representatives.
For days we have been working behind the scenes to understand what is happening. Thousands of phone calls, messages and emails have been sent out, but the problem is that Warner and Discovery are in the process of a merger. This means that the people you normally talk to have been fired, transferred or resigned, so no one has any idea how to get the information they need right now. The same thing happened in the first months of the merger with AT&T. Never cheer on corporate mergers, they help around 100 people and hurt thousands. ”
The effects of disorganization
Infinity Train for example is still available on iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play and Youtube , but doesn’t know until when. Nothing can be found on either HBO Max or Cartoon Network anymore .
“I don’t know how long it will stay on these services. Nobody knows. Warner assured me last night that it would not be removed from any season / episode paid service.
I’m pretty sure that if iTunes can’t have the series anymore, it won’t take it off after you’ve already paid for it. However, I don’t know any of this, much less about other providers. This is the part that scares me about not using physical media anymore.
Last night I was also assured that the show is not being used for that tax deduction loophole that is now so overwhelmingly associated with Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt. Will it continue to be like this? I don’t know, but the due date for the tax deduction is at the beginning of September, so maybe this will give us a clue …
I was told from various sources that this was not supposed to happen until next week, so that Cartoon Network / HBOMax / etc could have time to inform all the creators and artists of the show. Of course that didn’t happen, and now here’s where the disorganization has led us. Cartoon Network warned them not to do it because it would damage relationships with creators and talent, but it is clear that they don’t care what you look like publicly, much less what we think about it. ”
From what he learned, this was a direct order from Discovery to save money:
“The general opinion is that it has to do with paying the animators and artists the residual dues due for their work. Sometimes you can see an argument online like “well, they already paid the artists to make it, so what are they complaining about?”. Don’t listen to those who say this because they don’t understand or care about our pay structure.
Our pay is not complete without the residual dues. The latter are not paid directly to the artists, but go to our union to pay for our health care. So, if you don’t pay artists for the residues of their work, you will indirectly take away our health care.
This also means that the fees for music and actors will cease. For example, in the first quarter of this year, I earned $ 388.45 in royalties for dubbing One-One. This is not a large sum of money, but the equivalent of an extra office chair bought by the studio by mistake.
According to CNBC estimates, Discovery’s savings are in the tens of millions of dollars. A very small drop in the bucket of 3 billion that David Zaslav said he wanted to save by 2023 ″.
According to CNBC, the titles removed from HBO Max were chosen following criteria, that is, titles that were little followed, but this does not seem to be the case. Furthermore, the numbers and metrics were not shared.
CNBC also says that “anything taken off of HBO Max was rarely watched, according to people familiar with the matter.” First, no one is familiar with the matter, because the whole industry has been trying to contact people who have been familiar with the matter for three days and has failed.
That said, it’s hard to believe that Shock Corridor, Mystery of the Wax Museum, The X From Outer Space, Ice Station Zema, Red Sonja or Captain Blood, while all of them are fantastic films in their own right, are “frequently watched”. It is clear that it is not about frequency, so it must be about something else.
However, if they managed to find someone who was familiar with the matter and the problem was frequency, Discovery was unable to show the statistics or provide the metrics used. By all publicly available metrics, Infinity Train was at the 91st percentile of children’s media, at its peak * it was 17 times more popular than the TV show average, at last night it was at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th place on iTunes for kids and family, and in the top 20 of iTunes overall.
Or maybe it was underperforming. There is no way to know for sure, since they have not provided anyone with the numbers or metrics they are using, not even their own shareholders ”.
Creators and animators rise up
Through social media, we also learned that the creators and animators have not been notified of the disappearance of their shows from the Warner bookstores.
Julia Pott , creator of Summer Camp Island the series produced by Cartoon Network Studios , wrote:
“We worked for 5 years to make 100 animated episodes. We worked late into the night, we got busy, we were a family of artists who worked hard and wanted to do something cool, and HBO MAX took them all out as if we were nothing. Animation is nothing! And we worked through the pandemic to make 20 linear episodes that are our best work. I can’t wait for you to see them. YOU WILL SEE THEM! I will not give myself peace! ”
We worked for 5 years to make 100 episodes of animation. We worked late into the night, we let ourselves go, we were a family of hard working artists who wanted to make something beautiful, and HBO MAX just pulled them all like we were nothing. Animation is not nothing!
— Julia Pott (@juliapott) August 18, 2022
It premiered in July 2018 and recently wrapped its fifth season on HBO Max. Nominated for two Daytime Emmys and a GLAAD award, the series completed its sixth and final season.
Aaron Burdette , scriptwriter and co-executive producer of Close Enough also spoke about the cuts :
“Cool, it’s nice to work on something for years and then see it disappear altogether, it’s extremely good that television writing has become the building of sand castles at high tide.”
cool, love to work on something for literal years and then have it totally vanish, it’s extremely good that TV writing has become building sand castles at high tide https://t.co/BmMJ1Xigqy
— Aaron Burdette (@AaronBurdette) August 18, 2022
Stephen Neary the creator of The Fungies! tweeted:
“Last night, during a drawing class, I discovered that The Fungies! was eliminated from HBO Max this week. I am heartbroken, but I want to take this opportunity to thank all the fantastic artists and the production for their hard work on this sincere and dream show ”.
Last night during a figure drawing class I found out that The Fungies! was getting pulled from HBO Max this week. I’m heartbroken but I want to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing artists and production folks for their hard work on this sincere, fever dream of a show pic.twitter.com/hJ9DP1WvRd
— Stephen P Neary (@StephenPNeary) August 18, 2022
He then added in subsequent tweets:
“We worked hard during the pandemic and I hoped our diligence would be rewarded with the support of the network. I was promised that the show would air on Cartoon Network, which would bring views to HBO Max, but soon after launch, the show was pulled from airing without warning. There was little or no promotion. Although I was politely asked to speak on a mushroom podcast, a company representative monitored the recording so I didn’t reveal any “spoilers” about the show. The fact that even more well-known programs have been withdrawn makes it clear that these are foolish and money-driven decisions. My heart goes out to the other affected shows and the beautiful works that get canceled before they even go on the air.
I will keep doing things! Even if it’s just for me. That’s what I’ve always done, ever since I was very, very young. Thank you all. This exploded. It’s okay, people! I just want to make it clear that I’m not canceling HBO Max – where else could I watch The Rehearsal? ”
Sesame Street , for example, has already uploaded all its episodes to its Youtube channel:
Your friends on Sesame Street will always be here when you need them. Visit the neighborhood any day of the week with full episodes on our YouTube channel: https://t.co/tsfP88jAGO pic.twitter.com/0SMSnWMFXX
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) August 19, 2022