Warner Bros. Discovery’s new CEO David Zaslav is throwing his weight around and staying true to his promise that he is not afraid to cut the fat.
During the company’s first earnings call, Zaslav made it clear there would be no sacred cows under his management stating, “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 went on to bluntly state, “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.
To that end, Zaslav has reportedly cut scripted programming from TNT and TBS according to a report from Variety’s Jennifer Maas and Joe Otterson.
The report claimed, “The WarnerMedia-run cable channels is no longer developing new scripted content, three sources close to the matter tell Variety.”
It further noted 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.
Then on April 29th, Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries revealed The CW finally cancelled Batwoman after three seasons of constantly plummeting ratings, which saw the third season have an average rating of .09 in the 18-49 demographic with an average viewership of 458,000.
Dries wrote on Twitter, “Just got the sad news that Batwoman will not be seeing an S4. I am bummed, but full of gratitude.”
She added, “What an honor to make 51 episodes. So many inspiring, brilliant people contributed to this series. Thank you producers, cast and crew. Thank you, fans! We love you.”
Hours after Dries announced Batwoman was finally being thrown into the waste compactor, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow writers room announced their show had been axed after seven seasons as well.
They wrote on Twitter, “Thank you for being the greatest fans and sticking with us for seven seasons. Once a Legend, always a Legend.”
The Twitter account then shared a much longer message that began, “Alright, sit down. This is gonna hurt. We’re cancelled. This has been the journey of a lifetime for all of us. The little show that wasn’t supposed to be, grew into the show that could be anything it wanted.”
It continued, “We went to Camelot, Salvation, Hollywood, even Inside A Computer’s Mind but of course, the real destination was always home: the place where your family are friends and your friends are family.”
“We will desperately miss creating this show, but most of all we will miss getting to make to make it together and sharing it with you,” the message concluded.
According to TV Series Finale, the show, in its seventh season, had similar ratings to Batwoman’s third season with an average of .09 in the 18-49 demographic with average viewership at 528,000,
Interestingly enough that was a 27% increase from the show’s sixth season.
A new report from That Hashtag Show also claims the recently announced The Wonder Twins movie that was supposed to star Riverdale’s KJ Apa and Yellowstone’s Isabel May has been scrapped.
Deadline reported back in the middle of April that DC was developing a live-action comedy film based on the characters for HBO Max with Black Adam and Rampage co-writer Adam Szytkiel tapped to direct the film based off a script he wrote.
However, That Hashtag Show claims “the crew received word this week that the film was scrapped.”
They didn’t provide details on why the film was scrapped, but did point to Zaslav taking over claiming, “the Warner Bros-Discovery merger has dampened and changed a lot of the plans that were in place before the merger.”
Scooper Mikey Sutton previously claimed that Zaslav would be bringing big changes to the way Warner Bros. Discovery develops its DC properties. In a livestream with YouTuber Syl Abdul, Sutton laid out much of what he had heard about Zaslav’s plans.
Sutton revealed, “There are some changes. When The CW shows end up on HBO Max there’s some massive rebooting going on. One of the things that [Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav] is to have a cohesive universe between the TV shows and the films. So Batwoman and whatever surviving shows are going to be rebooted into kind of like the Flashpoint timeline that we were talking about, the reboot, even that’s not gonna stick.”
He elaborated, “Because what [Zaslav] wants, is as much as possible, is to have all these shows in the same universe.”
Sutton then asserted, “So, the Titans show and Superman and Lois. And there is a way of making them merge, We have all these storylines, you have Crisis. Should I say Final Crisis? Because that going to start getting you guys going crazy.
“But there’s going to be a way of putting these shows except Matt Reeves in his own little pocket thingy and they have to honor those old agreements anyways. So there is going to be exceptions to the rule. You can’t make J.J. Abrams all of a sudden force him into this new timeline. So, they’re trying to be Elseworlds that are going to be exceptions to the rule.”
Sutton then reiterated, “But again he wants to downplay — sporadically you’re going to have these alternate, pocket universes. But for the most part there is going to be a DCEU. There is going to be a DCEU going forward. A connected universe, yeah.”
“Because that’s the way of competing with Marvel. It’s not a way of copying them, but it works,” he stated.
Much of Sutton’s scoop would be reiterated in a report from Variety that claimed “top leadership have been toying with the idea of turning DC into its own solidified content vertical.”
Their report also claimed that Zaslav and company want “to have the disparate elements more closely aligned in order to maximize the value of the superhero stable.” In order to do that they want someone who can manage “all the different factions at DC.”
The report also detailed that Zaslav and Discovery wanted to create a “coherent creative and brand strategy” with a focus on using “top-shelf characters such as Superman [that] have been left to languish and need to be revitalized.”
Given these cancellations and cuts are coming fast and furious, what do you think is next on the chopping block? What do you think Zaslav and company should axe next?