Nearly 200 episodes of the classic kids series Sesame Street are being pulled off HBO Max, as newly merged parent company Warner Bros. Discovery continues to purge the premium programming channel to cut $3 billion in expenses.
According to Variety, the number of Sesame Street episodes listed on HBO Max was reduced from 650 to 456 last week.
HBO Max reps said the premium channel remains “committed to continuing to bring Sesame Street into families’ homes.
Also read: ‘Sesame Street’ Shifts to HBO Max
“Sesame Street is and has always been an important part of television culture and a crown jewel of our preschool offering,” a statement said.
Already, it was known that HBO Max would lose 36 series and TV shows, including Sesame Street spinoff The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, as newly merged -- and heavily indebted -- parent company Warner Bros. Discovery seeks to trim costs.
A CNBC report said WBD is looking to reduce its residuals burden as it approaches the merger of Discovery Plus' primarily nonfiction catalog with the HBO Max library in a combined SVOD service that will supersede both platforms next year. The emphasis is on self-produced shows and movies ... and more specifically, kids and family programming.
Much of the content being removed is self-produced. Moving to platforms outside the WBD umbrella will result in "tens millions of dollars" in savings on residual payments, a source told CNBC.
“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery Plus. That will include the removal of some content from both platforms,” an HBO Max rep said in a statement.
The spinoff of WarnerMedia by AT&T and subsequent merger of the asset in a $43 billion deal with Discovery resulted in a media conglomerate with $55 billion in debt.
WBD's management team, led by Discovery boss David Zaslav, has pledged to find $3 billion in immediate trims.
About 70 HBO Max staffers were laid off last week. Earlier, it was reported that a fully produced feature intended to be distributed first on HBO Max, Batgirl, was being shelved.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!