×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Turner Shuts Down Super Deluxe, Citing Duplication With Other WarnerMedia Units

AT&T’s pruning of WarnerMedia continues: Turner announced that it is killing off Super Deluxe, its edgy digital and TV studio.

Turner is proud of the unique brand Super Deluxe has built over the past three years, and the cutting-edge content and innovations this incredible group of very talented people has made,” the cable programmer said in a statement. “However, there are now massive changes in the social and mobile-first ecosystem and duplication with other business units in our new WarnerMedia portfolio. Super Deluxe found inspiring ways of connecting with a new generation and many of their best practices will be adopted by other Turner properties as we redirect this investment back into our portfolio.”

Turner revived Super Deluxe in 2015, bringing back the short-form comedy brand that in its earlier incarnation lasted for about 18 months in the late 2000s. L.A.-based Super Deluxe was set up as an independent unit within Turner, which hired former CBS Films co-president Wolfgang Hammer as president.

With Super Deluxe winding down, Hammer will depart the company. Super Deluxe currently has 54 full-time employees. According to a source, there will be layoffs but the scope hasn’t been determined yet. Staffers will be encouraged to apply for open positions in other Turner divisions; those who don’t find a placement will receive severance.

“Super Deluxe is the future of entertainment for creative youth,” the studio says on its website. It claimed to reach 52 million monthly consumers 18-34, with an average of 165 million monthly views across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Super Deluxe was overseen by Kevin Reilly, chief creative officer for Turner Entertainment and president of TBS and TNT. In describing Super Deluxe in 2016, Reilly said, “Our belief in the value proposition of ‘premium plus personalization’ now extends into the emergent ecosystem of mobile-centric consumers and next-generation creators thriving in that space.”

The Super Deluxe team produced a steady stream of short-form irreverent and weird comedy segments, while it also had pursued a strategy of developing longer-form TV shows.

Among those is Netflix’s “Chambers,” a supernatural drama starring Uma Thurman executive produced by Stephen Gaghan (“Traffic”), currently in production in the Albuquerque, N.M., area. Super Deluxe will continue its production commitment on “Chambers.” The studio also produced “This Close” for SundanceNow, billed as first show written, produced, and created by deaf people.

In addition, Super Deluxe has set a Nov. 2 release for “The Passage,” a modern-day silent movie starring theatrical clown Philip Burgers, on iTunes and Turner’s FilmStruck SVOD service. “The Passage,” which Super Deluxe has positioned as an Oscar contender, may also be released on TBS’s digital channels. The studio’s projects in development included “Silver Foxes,” a gay senior-citizen sitcom from writers on “The Golden Girls” and other shows.

In another move evidently related to AT&T’s restructuring of WarnerMedia operations, on Oct. 16 Warner Bros. abruptly shut down DramaFever, the Korean drama and Asian programming streaming service, citing changes in the market dynamics for K-drama. WB had acquired DramaFever, founded in 2009, almost three years ago.

AT&T closed the Time Warner deal in June, renaming it WarnerMedia and putting telecom exec John Stankey in charge as CEO.

After AT&T first announced its bid for Time Warner in October 2016, Turner and Super Deluxe execs were optimistic about lobbying the telco to invest more into the digital studio — given that its content was ideally suited for a new generation of consumers for whom the smartphone is the “first screen.” Obviously, that didn’t pan out.

More Digital

  • BBC Studios Names Anna Cronin Digital

    BBC Studios Names Anna Cronin Digital Content Director (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anna Cronin has been upped to director of digital content at BBC Studios, a new role at the production and distribution arm of the U.K. pubcaster. The position is within BBC Studios’ content partnerships division, which oversees the company’s programming and IP partnerships. Cronin will work with U.K. and international partners, and notably those in [...]

  • Facebook's Oculus Quest Shows How AR

    What the Oculus Quest Can Teach Us About the Future of Mixed Reality

    Facebook’s new Oculus Quest headset is a great gaming device that simplifies virtual reality (VR), doing away with the need for an expensive PC and external tracking hardware. But with its integrated tracking, the Quest can also teach us a thing or two about the future of virtual and augmented reality. Those two areas of [...]

  • snapchat-logo

    Snapchat Takes Down Porn Lenses, May Start Cat-and-Mouse Game

    Snapchat quickly removed a handful of x-rated augmented reality lenses Tuesday, dealing a blow to efforts by adult entertainment company Naughty America to promote its subscriptions to the service’s users. However, the porn studio may not be quite done with Snapchat just yet, as it is still distributing the source files that allow Snapchat users [...]

  • YouTube logo

    Why YouTube Is Changing the Way It Reports Subscriber Counts

    Within the next three months, YouTube will change the way it publicly displays channel subscriber counts: It will provide only rounded figures instead of actual follower numbers. For example, under the change, T-Series — the Indian music-video channel that recently surpassed PewDiePie to become the most-subscribed channel on the platform — would be listed in [...]

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

  • Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi, the Los Angeles-based director of Netflix international originals, responsible for India content, has resigned and will quit after a transition period. Netflix did not comment. Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that Netflix prefers an executive based in India to oversee local original content that has now grown to 11 series and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content