John Oliver and other comedians slammed their new parent company Warner Bros. Discovery after it pulled hundreds of shows from its HBO Max streaming service.
On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” which airs on HBO, the British-born comedian called HBO Max “a series of tax write-offs to appease Wall Street,” after the company announced a slew of shows it would be yanking from the streamer.
Under new CEO David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery recently yanked 36 shows from HBO Max, including the James Wan-produced “Aquaman: King of Atlantis,” as well as 200 “Sesame Street” episodes and feature film “Batgirl,” which was slated to be released this year.
On Monday, the service also axed six animated projects that were earmarked for HBO Max, including “Batman: The Caped Crusader,” from “The Batman” director Matt Reeves, J.J. Abrams and comic book creator Ed Brubaker; “Did I Do That to the Holidays: A Steve Urkel Story,” an animated “Family Matters” spinoff; and two high-profile “Looney Tunes” features, The Wrap reported.
“HBO Max: It’s not TV. It’s a series of tax write-offs to appease Wall Street,” Oliver said.
Oliver — who earlier this month slammed Warner Bros. Discovery for steep cost cuts, saying the corporate overlords were “burning down” his network — isn’t the only comedian mocking HBO Max. In a viral TikTok video, Adam Conover, who hosted show “Adam Ruins Everything” on Warner Bros. Discovery-owned truTV, laid into the company.
Conover, whose show was axed after Warner Media and Discovery merged earlier this year, said in his video which he tweeted: “Do you guys remember when the promise of streaming video was that there’d be a huge library where even niche shows would be available to watch forever? Well screw that.”
He continued: “HBO Max just announced they’re removing dozens of original shows and movies from their service….so why would HBO Max want to delete them? As usual it’s because of some corporate f-kerry.”
He explained that after the merger Zaslav said he would shore up $3 billion in cost savings to “keep the investors happy.”
“The only reason they deleted all of those shows is so that they can claim them as a loss on their taxes and so that they don’t have to pay the creators residuals anymore,” he said. “Oh and don’t forget they also laid a ton of people off.”
Conover concluded that massive media mergers like Warner Bros. Discovery “screw over everybody but a few people at the top,” before imploring anti-trust laws to be enforced.
HBO Max did not immediately return requests for comment.