A new report claims that the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery is stopping scripted programming for TNT and TBS shortly after shutting down CNN+ as part of his plan to find $3 billion in cost savings.
Following Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery’s first earnings call for the first quarter 2022, where Zaslav stated, “We have no religion about any one platform or window versus another. And we intend to approach each and every decision through a lens of enhancing asset value against a set of financial returns.”
He bluntly stated, “Our goal is to maximize long-term shareholder value and asset value, not just subs. We will not overspend to drive subscriber growth. Our focus is to invest in content and platforms that extend the life and return of our global IP and position us to drive greater returns out of each dollar of content spent than our peers. And to ultimately drive free cash flow.”
“And we will refine our capital allocations and content window decisions accordingly,” Zaslav added.
Following the earnings call Variety’s Jennifer Maas and Joe Otterson report that Zaslav and WarnerMedia are shutting down TNT and TBS’ scripted programming.
The report claims, “The WarnerMedia-run cable channels is no longer developing new scripted content, three sources close to the matter tell Variety.”
It further notes that one source informed them that Warner Bros. Discovery is not only pausing scripted content at TNT and TBS, but is also evaluating truTV and the strategy employed by Brett Weitz across the three channels.
TNT’s scripted content includes Snowpiercer, Animal Kingdom, The Alienist, and Claws. Animal Kingdom is ending after its sixth season in June while WarnerMedia announced in March that Snowpiercer just began production on its fourth season with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor Clark Gregg joining the cast.
Claws concluded after its fourth season and posting the channel’s worst viewership ratings of 437,000 per episode and a .11 rating in the 18-49 demographic. The Alienist concluded its second season back in 2020 and there has been no announcement whether it will be renewed for a third season or will be shelved. The show posted a channel high of 1.035 million average viewers per episode and a .20 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
As for TBS, its scripted offerings currently include Miracle Workers, Chad, American Dad, and The Last O.G. Miracle Workers, Chad, and American Dad all had their shows recently renewed.
No announcement has been made for The Last O.G., which posted the channel’s worst viewership for Season 4 with an average of only 496,000 per episode and .14 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
This report regarding TNT and TBS comes less than a week after CNN announced it is shutting down its streaming service, CNN+, on April 30, just a month after it launched on March 29, 2022.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter reported, “The decision was made by new management after CNN’s former parent company, WarnerMedia, merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery earlier this month.”
“The prior management team’s vision for CNN+ runs counter to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s plan to house all of the company’s brands under one streaming service,” they added.
Discovery streaming boss J.B. Perrette stated, “In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling.”
“We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there,” he added.
It’s unclear what might be next on the chopping block for Zaslav and his leadership team. Former DC Comics artist Shane Davis claimed the publications days are numbered back in March after they were booted from WarnerMedia’s office in Burbank, California.
Davis said, “Here’s the real question you have to ask yourself, especially if you are Discovery, and you’re the brand spanking new owners of DC Comics, and Warner Bros., and everything Warner Bros. owns. What good is DC Comics as a whole if the only thing selling, the only thing anyone cares about is Batman?”
He further opined, “The comic book industry is still running a model that doesn’t really work anymore and that would be monthly comics. It could work. Nobody’s saying the model itself is wrong. It’s just not working correctly. And it’s not working correctly year in, year out. And there’s a fatigue. There’s a lack of competence.”
What do you make of this report that Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery are cutting scripted programming for TBS and TNT? Do you think there will be big changes at DC Comics too?