Warner Bros. Discovery layoffs lead to the deletion of fan-favorite shows


Mia Kirkwood, HBO Max, Cartoon Network

As the newly merged company Warner Bros. Discovery sets its fine due dates and plans, new CEO David Kaslav takes the unexpected step by canceling multiple fan-favorite shows in order to save funds. Hundreds of employees within diversity, animation, creative and advertising departments lost jobs within the past two months without prior notice. On Twitter and other online forums, viewers, former employees and show creators of now-canceled shows express their confusion and distress about the current downfall of Warner Bros.

Mia Kirkwood, Reporter

Starting in August, mass media and entertainment company Warner Bros. Discovery unexpectedly began laying-off hundreds of employees within their television departments. By October, over 20 shows under the company faced cancelation due to a lack of overall employees under central divisions that focus on show development. The immediate effects of these changes put the company under rapid fire, especially within communities that enjoy animated shows on streaming platforms such as HBO Max. In mid-August, Warner Bros. Discovery deleted a mass amount of animated shows off the platform, such as “Infinity Train,” “OK K.O.!,” “Summer Camp Island” and 22 other animated programs. To add to this unfortunate news, neither Warner Bros. nor HBO Max announced the termination of the shows or provided any explanation as to why the deletions took place. 

September 12, HBO Max users finally received plausible reasoning for the previous month’s events. According to breaking news site Axios, Warner Bros. Discovery started enacting layoffs within their organization, specifically in the advertisement, animation and creative departments, in order to cut funds for the company. In early April, WarnerMedia worked on a 43 billion-dollar merger with the major cable enterprise Discovery. Due to the considerably hefty fine that the merger caused, the new sprouted CEO for Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, planned on laying off 26% of their workforce to save additional funds throughout the year. 

Unfortunately, a magnitude of these newly unemployed employees worked for shows within Telepictures and Cartoon Network, which provided viewers with shows such as Ellen, The Bachelor, The Amazing World of Gumball, Summer Camp Island and multiple other current productions. According to various laid-off show developers and employees, the corporation did not inform the creators that their shows awaited cancellation. 

“So far, the new @wbd [Warner Bros. Discovery Twitter page] has been outright hostile to content creators, creators of color, new voices trying to break into the industry, etc. The new WBD seems to go out of its way to make the company less inclusive while getting rich off the communities they’re sidelining… And for what? The business model isn’t working. @WBD stock has lost more than 50% post-merger. So stockholders suffer too. After the Batgirl fiasco, content creators discussed making WBD their ‘last look’ when pitching studios. They have also failed to deliver on promises they [leadership] made to civil rights organizations prior to the merger about commitments to inclusion. They have also imposed a double standard within the company,” Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro said


The number of laid-off employees and show cancellations created a substantial dip in the corporation’s stock market in September and formed a divide in the ratio of animated children’s shows and adult television within the Warner Bros. catalog. In addition, countless viewers and subscribers of streaming apps canceled subscriptions to multiple subsidiary companies that usually provide animated programs. Due to mass amounts of backlash, Warner decided to halt the closure of writing and director departments and instead move the employees to the diversity unit of the company on October 12. While this quick fix will help the company’s faulting reputation for a short period, the show cancellations and ongoing lay-off plans will continue.

“It’s shocking they would do this. After researching this, the show that I love, which is a spin-off of ‘Regular Show’ called ‘Close Enough’ is getting canceled. It makes me feel disappointed because I wouldn’t expect HBO Max which is essentially a hub for cartoons to cancel so many [animated television shows],” sophomore Neneh said.