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Warner Bros Discovery to gut HBO Max development team

A version of the HBO Max app running on an Apple TV device.
A version of the HBO Max app running on an Apple TV device. (Images courtesy Warner Bros. Discovery/Apple, Inc.; Graphic by The Desk)

Executives at Warner Bros Discovery are in the preliminary stages of issuing pink slips to workers who oversee the development of scripted series at premium streaming service HBO Max, according to a report.

On Wednesday, the entertainment trade publication The Wrap said as much as 70 percent of HBO Max’s development team could be laid off as Warner Bros Discovery moves to consolidate the streaming service into Discovery Plus over the next few months.

The move is intended to help reduce overlap between streaming service HBO Max and the premium multiplex movie network HBO, according to a source familiar with the plan. Scripted series would continue to be developed under the HBO brand, with popular HBO Max titles like “Hacks” and “The Flight Attendant” possibly re-tooled as HBO Originals.

Warner Bros Discovery could reveal more about its plans for HBO Max and the broader company in general when it releases its first quarterly earnings report on Thursday.

In April, AT&T spun off its WarnerMedia subsidiary into a separate company, one that immediately merged with Discovery Incorporated to form Warner Bros Discovery. Though Warner Bros Discovery is technically separate from AT&T, the telecom’s shareholders still own a majority stake in the new media entity.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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