HBO Max Yanking Access to ‘Westworld’ Among Other Content Off Streaming Service

When Warner Bros. Discovery announced last month that it would cancel critically-acclaimed (54 Emmy nominations) sci-fi western drama, “Westworld” after four seasons, the news was unsurprising in light of the show’s dwindling ratings.

Now the media giant is yanking access to the show — about a futuristic adult theme park with android robots catering to client fantasies — and other content completely from HBO Max, the company’s flagship streaming video platform in an effort to reduce residual payments. Other programs impacted by cutbacks include Victorian sci-fi drama “The Nevers,” romantic comedy “Love Life,” and 1970s-themed feminist comedy “The Minx.” They join recently axed shows “The Gordita Chronicles,” “FBoy Island,” “Legendary” and “Los Espookys.”

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On the company’s November month’s fiscal call, David Zaslav, the CEO of WBD tasked with cutting more than $3.5 billion in operating cost synergies following the merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, claimed that 60% of HBO’s content was not being watched.

“There’s 15 or 20 series that are loved and used and are nourishing the audience on a regular basis,” Zaslav said. “But then there’s a huge number of series and movies that aren’t being used at all.”

Where that content could possibly end up is on a planned ad-supported VOD platform launching in 2023, or distributed to third-party services.

“If none of it is being used, why aren’t we putting it on an AVOD, where it will be used?” Zaslav asked. “What we’re really trying to understand is, what has worked on the platform, and what hasn’t, and then based on that, we’ll determine how to operate going forward.”

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