It’s been a tumultuous time for HBO Max following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. The platform has been wiping beloved shows off its catalog left and right, recently culminating in the removal of even some series once seen as flagships like Westworld. As part of a cost-cutting measure, even recently-renewed shows like Minx haven’t been safe from the axe during this phase of restructuring. With the mass exodus of major shows, the streamer is now turning to third-party free ad-supported television (FAST) services as a solution. Many of the canceled and removed series are now set to be packaged and sent out to these services in hopes of finding a new audience and some monetization outside the HBO Max fold.
In total, eight titles have been designated for FAST, including the recently canceled Westworld and The Nevers alongside The Time Traveler’s Wife, Raised By Wolves, FBOY Island, Legendary, Finding Magic Mike, and Head of the Class. In anticipation, these series are all slated to be removed very soon as they move to their new homes. While it at least ensures these shows won’t disappear into the void, this behavior from Warner Bros. has left showrunners with plenty of uncertainty. Westworld was once one of the crown jewels of HBO and seeing it killed off unceremoniously has created an air of unease. Station Eleven showrunner Patrick Sommerville even commented on the frustration of not knowing what the future holds for many series.
Warner Bros. Discovery seems to be planning a FAST service of its own to eventually host many of its old originals, but until then it’s left to look to third-party hosts to license the shows out to. Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan were at least happy to know that their series would at least be streamable in the meantime. “We are incredibly proud of Westworld and the remarkable work of our cast and crew.” they said in an official statement. “We are excited to have the opportunity to welcome a whole new audience to our show.”
HBO Max is Still Weighing Decisions on a Number of Other Series
In addition to all those series heading to FAST, there are at least five more series that HBO Max is still weighing the fate of. Among them are Minx, Gordita Chronicles, Love Life, Made for Love, and The Garcias. All five are slated to leave HBO Max soon, but the streamer is still in talks with studio partners about what’s next for each series. FAST is still an option, but these series are also hoping for a wider reach, especially in light of their success. When Gordita Chronicles was set to be removed, the streamer said they would work with producers to potentially land the series with a new home considering how well its first season was received. That could also be the case for something like Minx which inspired enough faith to initially get that second-season renewal in the first place.
This is all without weighing the fate of loads of other shows that have been lost in the HBO Max cuts. Animation has particularly suffered with Infinity Train and Summer Camp Island among plenty more series that still have no way of viewing them after their removal. The move towards shipping shows out to FAST does at least open the door that these series could be available again eventually, but it remains to be seen what else the company has planned.
Warner Bros. Discovery will share more details about its own potential FAST offering in 2023.