Warner Bros. Discovery has announced a plan to license some of its canceled and pulled programming to third party free ad-supported television (FAST) channels. Additionally, the company says it will announce plans for its own proprietary FAST channel in 2023.
WBD shocked the industry on Monday when it was learned that all four seasons of “Westworld” would be pulled from HBO Max after being canceled earlier this year. This wasn’t the first move of its kind — the company infamously canceled its “Batgirl” movie this summer as it was nearing completion and has pulled several lower-profile items from its back catalog. And more recently, HBO Max axed several buzzy unscripted originals. But given that “Westworld” was once a major hit and a hallmark series for the HBO brand, the news seemed to signal that no content was safe in the face of CEO David Zaslav’s extreme cost-cutting strategy.
Despite that, “Westworld” will at least avoid slipping into complete obscurity. It will be removed from HBO Max in the coming days along with “The Nevers,” “Raised by Wolves,” “FBoy Island,” “Legendary,” “Finding Magic Mike,” “Head of the Class” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” but WBD says that it is preparing to transition each into new third party deals.
“We are incredibly proud of ‘Westworld’ and the remarkable work of our cast and crew,” series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy said in a statement. “We are excited to have the opportunity to welcome a whole new audience to our show.”
There still remains hope for other programs recently announced to be coming off of HBO Max, though the circumstances surrounding their deals are more complicated. While the IP for “Westworld” and the like are owned by WBD, others are produced by outside studios that now govern the negotiation process.
Therefore, “Gordita Chronicles” (Sony Pictures Television), “Love Life” (Lionsgate Television), “Made for Love” (Paramount Television Studios), “The Garcias” (ViacomCBS) and “Minx” (Lionsgate) will also leave HBO Max in the coming days. But according to WBD, the studio partners behind each aim to set the projects at other platforms.